Doors of­fi­cially open for Lodge in Fort Ma­cleod

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Front Page - BY HEATHER CAMERON

It was a happy and prob­a­bly with a sense of re­lief the grand open­ing of Pi­o­neer Se­niors Lodge in Fort Ma­cleod took place Sept. 13.

Dr. Maryanne Sand­berg, the Chair of the Wil­low Creek Foun­da­tion, wel­comed all in at­ten­dance and then ex­plained the fund­ing for the Pi­o­neer Lodge pro­ject was an in­vest­ment un­der the af­ford­able hous­ing agree­ment be­tween the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, Cana­dian Mort­gage and Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, and Al­berta with an 80/20 split with Wil­low Creek Foun­da­tion fund­ing 20% of the fund­ing.

Sand­berg then ex­plained a bit about the Pi­o­neer Lodge; it is a whop­ping 40,400 square feet in com­par­i­son to the old lodge, which was 19,800 square feet. Pi­o­neer Lodge con­tains 30 stu­dio suites that are ap­prox­i­mately 350 square ft. each and 10 one-bed­room units that are ap­prox­i­mately 550 square ft. each and in­clude bar­rier-free wash­rooms. 11 of the one-bed­room units also have pa­tios.

Pi­o­neer Lodge also fea­tures a laun­dry room, li­brary, fam­ily din­ing area, a spa­cious din­ing hall, a hair sa­lon, sit­ting rooms, a re­cre­ation room, and a lot of space for res­i­dents to move around freely.

“An­other very im­por­tant part of this lodge is our con­nec­tion to the sense of com­mu­nity,” Sand­berg said. “By that, I mean we have two in­de­pen­dent manors that are on this land and they al­ways re­main con­nected to the Pi­o­neer Lodge.”

Fol­low­ing Sand­berg’s re­marks, Gra­ham Sucha, MLA for Cal­gary-Shaw­nessy spoke about re­mem­ber­ing see­ing his grand­mother in se­niors’ care and how her fa­cil­ity was not only dark, but not as vi­brant and bright as Pi­o­neer Lodge is.

“See­ing how bright and col­or­ful it is in here is just re­mark­able,” Sucha said. “This town has such a great fam­ily feel and that’s some­thing our gov­ern­ment is work­ing on pre­serv­ing. That’s why it’s so ex­cit­ing for me to be at the new Pi­o­neer Lodge; to see com­mu­ni­ties be able to age and grow to­gether as a fam­ily and as a com­mu­nity. This is one of the many ways that se­niors’ sup­ports are a pri­or­ity to our gov­ern­ment.”

Sucha ex­plained Al­berta now has its first Af­ford­able Hous­ing strat­egy which in­volves a his­tor­i­cal in­vest­ment of $1.2 bil­lion com­mit­ted to­wards af­ford­able hous­ing through­out the prov­ince.

Sucha firmly be­lieves ev­ery­one should feel safe and be able to have ac­cess to an af­ford­able home.

Sucha was fol­lowed by Dany Skelling from Canada Mort­gage and Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion and Skelling ex­pressed his ex­cite­ment about be­ing able to share in this day.

“Ev­ery­one should have ac­cess to safe, af­ford­able hous­ing,” Skelling said. “With fi­nan­cial sup­port from CMHC and the Prov­ince of Al­berta, Pi­o­neer Lodge pro­vides 40 new spa­cious and fully-ac­ces­si­ble units to se­niors in the com­mu­nity , al­low­ing them to re­main in­de­pen­dent and close to fam­ily and friends. Fel­low­ship with loved ones is cru­cial to im­proved health out­comes for se­niors and CMHC is proud to be part of that.”

Fol­low­ing Skelling’s re­marks, John Bar­low, MP for Foothills, spoke about how se­niors are im­por­tant to him be­cause he has the most se­niors per capita of any of the 338 rid­ings in Canada.

“Se­niors through­out our com­mu­ni­ties are men­tors, teach­ers, vol­un­teers, and role mod­els who have con­trib­uted gen­er­ously,” Bar­low said. “Ev­ery day, our se­niors make sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to our com­mu­ni­ties by giv­ing time, ded­i­ca­tion, and their hearts to the peo­ple and the causes that are clos­est to them. Pro­vid­ing our se­niors with proper care is some­thing that is so im­por­tant. Part of help­ing to en­sure our se­niors re­ceive ex­cel­lent care in­cludes pro­vid­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties for af­ford­able hous­ing within the com­mu­nity so se­niors can stay close to friends, fam­ily, and so­cial net­works.”

He­len Ke­hoe, Mayor of Granum, then spoke about how Granum is too small for a fa­cil­ity like Pi­o­neer Lodge, so she is grate­ful for the new fa­cil­ity in Fort Ma­cleod. Fol­low­ing Ke­hoe’s re­marks, Fort Ma­cleod mayor, Brent Feyter, spoke.

“I think this is a tes­ta­ment that our gov­ern­ments do pull through for us and we want to thank and ap­pre­ci­ate our gov­ern­ment for do­ing that,” Feyter said. “De­vel­op­ment and change al­ways can cause some pain and dis­com­fort for a lot of dif­fer­ent peo­ple. I think, though, af­ter all the dust has cleared, we are left with an amaz­ing build­ing that will be used for years to come. I so ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity that our se­niors can stay in our com­mu­nity.”

Ge­orge Berry, CAO of Berry Ar­chi­tec­ture and As­so­ci­ates, then spoke about how his firm was in­volved in the unique de­sign of Pi­o­neer Lodge. Berry said the orig­i­nal lodge was slated to be torn down prior con­struc­tion of the new lodge, but the Wil­low Creek Foun­da­tion worked tire­lessly to en­sure that ev­ery res­i­dent had a safe place to re­side in be­fore any de­mo­li­tion took place.

“The pro­ject would have never hap­pened with all the hard work and ded­i­ca­tion of every­body in­volved,” Berry said. “From the board mem­bers that came to the Prov­ince, to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for the find­ings of the sup­port, but most im­por­tantly, the chal­lenges that came through this the se­niors ex­pe­ri­ence right from the very start. This is the build­ing that ev­ery one of you de­serves.”

Fol­low­ing the com­ments, Sand­berg, Sucha, and Bar­low un­veiled the plaque that com­mem­o­rated the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Pi­o­neer Lodge.

The board of the Wil­low Creek Foun­da­tion then as­sisted two of the Pi­o­neer Lodge’s res­i­dents, Glenna Moorey and Ray­mond Ch­ester, in the rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony that of­fi­cially opened Pi­o­neer Lodge.

Photo by Heather Cameron

With as­sis­tance from mem­bers of the Wil­low Creek Foun­da­tion board and MP John Bar­low (far right), Pi­o­neer Lodge res­i­dents Glenna Moorey cen­ter (turquoise top) and Ray­mond Ch­ester cut the rib­bon to of­fi­cially open Pi­o­neer Lodge.

Pho­tos by Heather Cameron

Above: From left to right, Gra­ham Sucha, Dr. Maryanne Sand­berg, and Dany Skelling, Canada Hous­ing and Mort­gage Cor­po­ra­tion, un­veil the plaque for Pi­o­neer Lodge. Right: He­len Ke­hoe, Mayor of Granum, speaks at the grand open­ing of the Pi­o­neer Lodge.

BRENT FEYTER, Mayor of Fort Ma­cleod

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