Tuesday , 21 March 2023

Lakeland Lodge & Housing wants to demolish old Cold Lake Lodge, build anew

What to do with the old Cold Lake Seniors Lodge — that has been the question on the minds of the Lakeland Lodge and Housing board members.

The board sent letters to the three municipal stakeholders — City of Cold Lake, M.D. of Bonnyville, and Town of Bonnyville — asking councils to support their request to the Ministry of Seniors and Housing to demolish the vacant building, so they can start fresh with long term plans, which include developing a “campus of care” on that site. 

Each council agreed to pen the letter at last week’s run of council meetings.

Since the new Lodge has been up and running since 2019, Lakeland Lodge and Housing had first tried to see if they could find a new tenant to take over the space.

Board chair Chris Vining said there were discussions with Portage College, the City of Cold Lake, AHS, and others to see if a fit could be found. However, the state of the property, built originally in 1976, is not up to snuff, and so they decided go this route.

“At the end of the day, it’s been sitting empty since we opened the new Lodge and the amount of work that it would take to bring it up to bring it up to spec… It’s such an old build. The style that it was built in just doesn’t lend itself to being renovated or repurposed very well,” Vining told Lakeland Connect. 

We were really hopeful that we’d find another use for it. There were some dreams for that one that we hoped, but physically that place just can’t handle it. So it’s time to say okay, let’s move on from it.”

The old Lodge is situated in between the new Lodge and Hillside Manor, self-contained apartment style complexes that suit seniors who maintain a good sense of independence, but need affordable, low-income housing.

This is the type of facility Vining said the city needs more of. It would also mean there would be multiple buildings on one site with different levels of housing and health options that would support clients needs. 

Demolishing the building would also allow for more green space. When the new Lodge was constructed, the footprint of the building took much of that previous space away.

The Foundation would look to plan the footprint of the site, allowing for green space, walking paths, and strategically planned areas for seniors to get together to visit.   

The province has been paying the Foundation to maintain operation. They’ll need the go-ahead from the Ministry to move forward with these plans.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.