Wheatland County council debated whether to approve a letter of support presented by Coun. Glenn Koester for the Wheatland Housing Management Body’s (WHMB) proposed new Wheatland Lodge. 

The debate took place during the June 18 regular meeting of council. The proposed lodge is a 120-unit facility with attached hospice beds, and has been in partnership with the Wheatland and Area Hospice Society. 

A Notice of Motion, which was included in council’s public meeting agenda, indicated approving the letter of support would demonstrate county council’s endorsement and commitment to support the project throughout its development. 

The letter is addressed to the ministry of seniors, community and social services, and would pledge financial commitment from the county for the development of the 120-unit Wheatland Lodge. 

As originally drafted, the letter suggested the county would commit to $10 million as their respective share by the member municipalities towards the project. 

This contribution would be contingent upon commitments of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund and by the Government of Alberta in order for the project to be allowed to proceed. 

Among the debated points in the letter, was the specific commitment of the county to provide the $10 million towards the project. 

Coun. Shannon Laprise suggested either removing the specific commitment of $10 million to the project within the letter, or to change the number to $6.05 million, to which the county has previously agreed to put forward towards the project. 

Coun. Glenn Koester noted during the meeting, approving a letter of support for the project from the county to the province would increase the odds of receiving grant funding approval in the next round of provincial funding. 

“If we do not get a good letter of support, we are at the bottom of the list and there were 70-some applications at the last go-round. There is not enough money for everybody to get their wish; it is no different than our CERB money,” said Koester. “Our ask will be at the bottom of the pile unless we step up to the plate and give them (the province) a letter of support.”

Council debated potential amendments to the letter, and though motions were on the floor regarding potential wording changes, no motion was passed. 

Similarly, although a motion was on the floor regarding approving the letter of support, a vote was also not held for that motion. Instead, the discussion was differed to a following council meeting.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 03, 2024 at 12:04

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated