The Wheatland and Area Hospice Society (WAHS) and the Wheatland Housing Management Board (WHMB) are hosting a series of presentations for the local community to talk about updates regarding efforts to see a new senior’s lodge constructed.

According to WAHS Chair, Joni McNeely, informing the local community about where the project is at is high on the priority list for the team.

“We are at the point now (where) we are at the first of four phases, continuing the progress towards getting the new lodge built,” she said. “At the moment, what is top of mind is presenting to community members regarding the process, the four phases, and just to keep members of the community informed about the build and the costs.”

The WAHS will be discussing the project specifics under three categories, being the need for a new lodge, what the build will look like and require, and the cost of the project. 

According to McNeely, the need for affordable lodge housing for seniors is expected to grow significantly within the next 20 years. The current lodge already maintains a waiting list.

“The demographic within our region equates to 400 spaces that will be required, and currently our lodge has 89. We need to start with some sort of progress moving forward,” said McNeely. “The build will be on the east side of Kinsmen Park and will be 120 spaces, and in there, hospice will be a part of that.”

The current estimated cost of the build is $53 million, which will be refined during each phase of the build. 

Based on documentation released by the WAHS, 12 per cent will be paid for as capital down payment over 50 years. The remaining 88 per cent will be provided upfront by provincial and federal loans and grants intended to support the general affordability of housing. 

Currently, the plan for the build is to have a standard room size of 320 square feet. There are also plans to consider larger rooms to better accommodate couples. Some rooms in the current lodge are 195 square feet. 

Construction aims to take place over a 34-month period once started, with jobs created in multiple fields throughout and following the build. 

The WAHS and WHMB are planning to host a total of six community information sessions to discuss the build, each in a different municipality. 

The session in Strathmore took place March 27. The Cheadle, Rockyford, Standard, Carseland, and Gleichen sessions will take place March 29-30, as well as April 3- 5 respectively, each taking place at 7 p.m.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 30, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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