Seniors lodge, hospice planned for Strathmore, Wheatland County

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Residents of Wheatland County and Town of Strathmore will receive a progress update on a proposed senior’s lodge and hospice facility on Thursday, May 13.

The community meeting will be held virtually over Zoom by Wheatland Housing Management Body (WHMB), Wheatland and Area Hospice Society (WAHS), and architectural project lead Berry Architectures and Associates to “bring everyone up to date” on the project.

“(The provincial government) came up with a priority, and Strathmore was one of 31 communities in the province,” Division 6 Councillor and WHMB Chair Glenn Koester said during the regular Wheatland County council meeting on Tuesday, May 4.

In September 2020, the provincial government identified a total of 31 communities across Alberta in need of additional continuing care spaces for seniors; WHMB announced shortly afterward Berry Architecture was chosen to develop design concepts for the proposed 165 bed facility, which will service both Strathmore and Wheatland County seniors.

A total of five community engagement sessions were held between October and November 2020 to gather feedback and input from residents on what they would like to see in the proposed facility, including common amenities and care.

Councillor Koester noted WHMB is still waiting on an expression of interest from the province.

The only request made by the province was a commitment of land, which the Town of Strathmore council committed to donate--nearly five acres of undeveloped industrial land east of Kinsmen Lake.

“(The board is) competing for provincial dollars,” Councillor Koester said.

He added Mountain View Lodge in Olds, and a new senior’s lodge in the Town of Trochu for neighbouring municipality Kneehill County, have also followed the same model to receive provincial funding for senior’s housing and continuing care.

“I think the message needs to get out there that we’re waiting on this expression of interest, that’s the key to the whole project, and if we don’t get that answer we don’t get anything,” added Deputy Reeve Scott Klassen during the meeting.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail