Long time DHA vol­un­teer re­tires

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

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

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