The Bonnylodge has received $10.3 million to complete the final phase of the massive renovation/expansion project. Alberta’s Minister of Seniors was on hand, at the lodge, to make the announcement on June 30th. Chair of the Lakeland Lodge & Housing Foundation and Councillor for the Town of Bonnyville, Ray Prevost says it was one of his goals to see the project completed.
“This is the second time around [trying to secure funding],” explains Councillor Prevost. “We started in 2008 with a needs-assessment. At that time the Minister was Mary Anne Jablonski, that’s how far we go back! So, when Minister Sigurdson made the announcement, it was pretty huge.”
While addressing the crowd and residents of the Bonnylodge on Thursday, Minister Lori Sigurdson said it was important to her for seniors to be able to stay in the community they lived their whole lives, “the raised families here, they worked hard, played by the rules, and they should be able to age in the communities where they lived their whole lives.”
Construction is expected to start this summer to replace units built in 1958. There will be 46 new units and the kitchen and core services will undergo a major renovation. “It’s really rewarded, we worked really hard at it,” Councillor Prevost says it was thanks to the support from the Lakeland Lodge & Housing Foundation Board that moved him to continue working on securing the funding. “We stayed with it, even though there was some disappointments along the way, we stuck with it. This is the result.”
Once completed the lodge will have 120 modern units that feature larger rooms, full in-suite washroom and modern fire-suppression and safety systems. “This is huge for the aging community,” Councillor Prevost says there will still be a waiting list for seniors to get into the lodge, but it will be a much smaller list. “Even at the end of the construction of this Phase 3, which is 46 extra beds, there will still be a waiting list from today’s numbers.”
There are 55 people on the waiting list now, Councillor Prevost says the board routinely calls the people on the list to check in. “We call seniors on a list to see who is ready to move in, if a bed was available and we have 55 who are ready now.We have another five or six and there’s always another one or two in the hospital waiting on a room.” Councillor Prevost says for the back-side of Bonnylodge, the independent apartment style housing, “30 are full, there’s 42 on the waiting list and there’s another 30 about to open; but there will still be a waiting list on that side, as well.” Phase 2 of the Bonnylodge, which has 30 self-contained apartments, is expected to open in a month or less. Getting a room is determined on a needs-basis, some seniors have been waiting multiple years for a room at the Bonnylodge.
In her address, Minister Sigurdson stated, “the Government of Alberta will invest more than $1 billion in affordable housing capital projects during the next five years.” Further Minister Sigurdson says, “the government owns or supports 152 senior lodges in 115 communities.” More than 10,000 Alberta seniors live in lodges . Of these, 80 percent are low-income and 60 percent receive home-care services.
Phase 3 of the Bonnylodge is expected to be completed in the spring of 2018.