More seniors’ housing a priority – HRH

An additional 10 living units are planned for Villa Beausejour in 2022 as part of plan by Heart River Housing to accommodate more seniors.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A plan to add 10 units to Villa Beausejour in Falher in 2022 remains a top priority for Heart River Housing.

“Heart River Housing has completed its strategic plan for 2021-22 and the board has set some exciting and obtainable goals for the upcoming year,” CAO Lindsay Pratt says in a letter dated June 18 to municipal councils.

He hopes the proposed project will be approved by the provincial government in October as outlined in a targeted timeline.

The Villa currently has 69 units.

Heart River has scheduled construction to start by next summer.

Estimated to cost $4 million, the project would include one- and two-bedroom units.

Pratt says the plan calls for 50 per cent of funding from Heart River reserves while the balance would come from loans.

“The loan amount could be reduced if Heart River Housing can secure a grant from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a loan to be paid back over three to five years from capital requisitions,” Pratt says.

Heart River would consider options for loans from the CMHC, member municipalities, a financial institution and Heart River reserves.

Expansion would meet the growing demand for seniors’ housing in the region as presented in a needs assessment presented in 2020.

“The assessment shows a need for more seniors’ housing in the Smoky River region, specifically for one-bedroom and two-bedroom units,” Pratt writes in the report.

“Statistics show a major increase in seniors over the next 25 years within the region and across the country.”

Construction continues at Pleaantview Lodge in High Prairie to add 20 units in a two-storey expansion.

“The target completion date is August 2022,” Pratt says.

Budgeted at about $7.8 million, the project was estimated at $7.6 million one year ago.

The CMHC has provided Heart River a loan of $5,664,000 and a grant of $410,000 while Heart River has taken $1,726,000 from capital reserves.

Heart River also plans to remodel government-owned one-bedroom senior housing units into two-bedroom units.

“Projects in each community will be reviewed to see if it is structurally feasible and if we can afford to lose units in each community,” Pratt says.

“This strategy presents a financially viable option to augment the new build strategy as this would be catering for the independent seniors across the region that prefer to remain in their community.”

Heart River Housing was established as a management body under the Alberta Housing Act in 1995 and represetns 11 municipalities.

Pleasantview Lodge in High Prairie is being expanded to the left of the photo [not seen]. Crews are adding a two-storey addition with 20 living units.

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