Long time DHA volunteer retires
Shelter is a basic need for a community, and for generations the Drumheller Housing Administration has been helping those in need get a hand when they need it most. And virtually from the beginning Ray Page has provided leadership.
Since the first project in Greentree in 1967, thousands have been able to find stability thanks to the Drumheller Housing Administration and the volunteers who continue to work for those in need.
This year, Ray Page stepped down from the Drumheller Housing Administration as a director. His involvement goes back years before he was on the board, but as a manager.
“I found it quite satisfying, that is why I did it for so many years,” he tells The Mail.
His service has been appreciated by those who worked with him.
“Ray’s departure is a huge loss to the board, not merely in institutional knowledge,” says Board Chairperson Jay Garbutt, “but with more than a decade of volunteer service on top of his management service no one can argue that his retirement is well deserved.”
Mr. Page came to Drumheller to take over Bert Ickringill’s insurance company in 1971. At that time, Ickringill was the first manager. This was around the time that the Hunts townhouses were being completed.
He said that Drumheller was one of the first communities in Alberta to build this kind of a project.
“It was very much needed. There wasn’t much going on in the 1960’s and then the penitentiary came along and it was a big boost,” he said.
“The housing units have had a waitlist ever since it was built. There was certainly a big need. I came in 1971, there wasn’t much going on for new construction, very little to rent. I spent my first three months here in the Whitehouse.”
He explains that between himself and his partner Ron Poole, they managed the housing developments for years, through Page Insurance. He sold his business to Hub International in about 2003, and the management of the Housing Administration was handed over to Century 21 under then owner Hanne Paget. Today, the units are managed by Century 21 PowerRealty.ca.
After managing Drumheller Housing for 33 years, he applied to sit on the board.
“They twisted my arm,” he chuckles.
After years of wait lists, the Housing Administration was able to bring on more units with the development of Sandstone Manor, a 20 suite apartment, in 2009.
“Former Counsellor Karen Bertamini was board chair at the time and she and CAO Ray Romanetz did a great job of bringing that to fruition,” said Page.
“The problem in Drumheller
It was very much needed. There wasn't much going on in the 1960's and then the penitentiary came along and it was a big boost." Ray Page
is you can’t afford to build an apartment building with the rent that you can collect. It just is not feasible. I think the last one built was the Bankview Apartments and that was 20 years ago or more. There was a pent up demand for rental housing, affordable rental housing.”
Drumheller CAO Romanetz worked with Mr. Page for many years during his service with Drumheller Housing and also when Page served on council.
“He is incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated,” said Romanetz.
"We appreciate his long standing service, he played a huge role in shaping what Drumheller Housing is.”
Page says the Sandstone Manor fits the need of situations such as single parent families, or people with entrylevel employment. Sandstone Manor is classified as affordable housing, which means the price is set at no more than 10 per cent below market value. In low income subsidized housing, such as in the Greentree and Hunts Townhouse facilities, the rent is based on a formula based on need and circumstances. The Greentree facility is owned by the province and the Hunts Place housing is 10 per cent owned by the Town of Drumheller.
There are 26 units at Greentree, 24 in Hunts place and 20 in Sandstone Manor. A few years ago, they undertook extensive renovations to the facilities, including upgrading the exterior and efficiency improvements.
Page has found his work with the administration satisfying, and it serves the need of getting people the shelter and security so they can thrive.
“There are a number of people who went in, spent a few years there and then moved on and bought houses,” he said. "I still see many of them from time to time, and we still talk.”
The Drumheller Housing Administration is still working to fulfill the needs of the community and has applied for funding to build another facility. The vision is for about 30 units, with more accessible housing for residents with mobility issues.
“We are very fortunate to have such community-minded people such as Page giving their time to make Drumheller a better place for all residents,” said Mayor Terry Yemen.
Ray Page... DHA volunteer