Province kicks in an additional $5.2 million for seniors housing
The provincial government has promised to provide an additional $5.2 million to help renovate and expand the Parkland Lodge, a seniors facility in Edson.
The money brings the province’s total contribution to about $18.4 million.
Greg Pasychny, chairperson for the Evergreens Foundation, said the non-profit organization has also committed $8.3 million to the project, which will help alleviate the growing waitlist of seniors trying to find affordable housing in Edson.
“It’s going to be one of the first joint ownerships,” said Pasychny, cautioning the final cost of the project has not been finalized.
“Until the tenders are closed we don’t know what the final costs are.”
Currently there are more than 100 seniors in the region waiting for housing, including 40 seniors in Edson and 22 in Jasper.
The foundation operates five lodges in Jasper, Hinton, Edson, Grande Cache and Evansburg. Together there are 182 units, all of which are full.
“We are currently at capacity in all of our lodges,” said Pasychny. “Every lodge has a waiting list.”
The expansion and renovation of the Parkland Lodge is expected to eliminate the waitlist in Edson and provide extra capacity for future growth, however the project won’t be completed until the fall of 2018.
To speed up construction and cut down costs, residents in the 55-unit facility have been temporarily moved to Edson’s old hospital.
“If we open it and it’s full then we under-built it, so based on the demand coming in and what we see going forward we should be close to full, but not completely full,” said Pasychny.
Once construction is complete there will be a total of 102 units in the new Parkland Lodge.
According to the provincial government, the money is part of $1.2 billion it is investing over five years for seniors and affordable housing.
“Seniors deserve a safe and affordable place to call home but many aren’t able to because of the lack of space,” wrote Lori Sigurdson, minister of seniors and housing.
“This investment will support seniors in Edson and the area to age in the community.”
With growing waitlists across the region, Pasychny said the foundation will soon turn its attention to Hinton, where 27 seniors are waiting to find affordable housing.
“As soon as the Edson project gets underway we’re going to start to look at the Hinton project,” said Pasychny, adding the foundation is currently in the midst of another housing study for the region.
Part of the challenge in Jasper is that land is not readily available to accommodate seniors in the community.
As a result, Pasychny said the facility in Hinton will likely include enough capacity to accommodate seniors from Jasper.
He readily admitted it’s not an ideal situation, but likely the only solution in near future.
“We need to make sure we are planning for the future of this region and ensuring that we have the facilities that meet the requirements of the residents of this area, so we have to look at Hinton.”