News | DrumhellerMail - Page #14
Last updateFri, 02 Jun 2023 7am

Wheatland Housing aims for new lodge

Wheatland 2021

Representatives from the Wheatland Housing Management Board (WHMB) and Wheatland and Area Hospice Society held a series of community engagement presentations to discuss the proposed new seniors living lodge with partner communities.
The lodge is a project the two organizations have been working on together for a number of years to fill a need within the Wheatland County and Strathmore area.
“We have such a huge need, about 400 spaces, and that’s not going away,” says Wheatland and Area Hospice Society board President Dr. Joni McNeely.
She explains the lodge will fill a housing need to support low income seniors, which represent about one in four seniors in care. Low income seniors currently can access the Wheatland Lodge congregate seniors living facility, but with only 89 rooms available there is already a waiting list of about 20 people.
While the average age of residents entering the lodge is about 89 years old, and these seniors often enjoy another “substantial number of years” at the lodge, Dr. McNeely says the waiting list issue will only continue to grow and will not be resolved without a new facility. This will become especially problematic as the existing senior population continues to age and the Baby Boomers enter their senior years.
It is estimated the facility will cost some $53 million to build, and will provide additional space for low income seniors to age in the community.
Each member municipality--the Town of Strathmore, the villages of Hussar, Rockyford, and Standard, and Wheatland County--will contribute a one-time capital contribution totalling $4,644,796, similar to a down payment. An ongoing annual requisition will also be required to repay a loan through the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CHMC), similar to a private mortgage, totalling some $700,000 annually.
The Town of Strathmore has committed the land for the facility, located east of the Strathmore Kinsmen Park, along with a capital commitment of $566,625.
Along with seniors living, the facility will also include a space for hospice, though costs for this will be evaluated as a separate project and will be funded through community fundraising. Although the presentations did touch upon some concerns about having a shared seniors living and hospice space within the same building, Dr. McNeely says the overall response has been very supportive. She explains the hospice and lodge will each have its own separate entrances, and will each have its own look and “vibe.”
“AHS (Alberta Health Services) has said it’s not likely a freestanding hospice would be viable,” Dr. McNeely says.
She adds AHS is putting much of its hospice care into long term care, and there are already some similar facilities, such as St. Marguerite Manor and Dulcina Hospice located in the City of Calgary’s north end.
By working together, the two organizations may have more success obtaining grant funding due to reduced costs--not only build a singular facility, but also reduced staffing needs and the ability to share other facilities such as laundry and kitchen resulting in reduced overall operating costs.
Dr. McNeely says the project is in the first of four phases and a project manager has been hired.
The project was presented to Town of Strathmore and Wheatland County councils and both municipalities supported the WHMB’s request for letters of support. These letters will be sent to the federal government along with letters received from the other member municipalities of Hussar, Rockyford, and Standard.
“We need to have more facilities and services in these little communities,” Dr. McNeely tells the Mail.
The board held a second round of engagements to present the information to other communities it was unable to get to during the first round, and held a meeting in Village of Hussar on Thursday, April 27.

Five candidates running in Drumheller-Stettler

Copy of election

May 11 was nomination day in Alberta for the next provincial election, and what looked like a two-horse race in Drumheller- Stettler now has a slate of five candidates.
Incumbent Nate Horner is the candidate for the United Conservative Party. He was elected in 2019, succeeding Rick Strankman representing the riding. He was elected with 76 per cent of the popular vote.
Juliet Franklin will be the Alberta NDP candidate for Drumheller-Stettler in the next Alberta provincial election. Franklin is a practicing pharmacist in Stettler. Her focus is on healthcare.
Carolina Evers is running as a candidate for the Solidarity Movement of Alberta. This is the party led by Calgary Pastor Artur Pawlowski. They are running a slate of 38 candidates.
Shannon Packham is running as a candidate for the Independence Party of Alberta. Her online presence shows she has worked with the Alberta Prosperity Project. The Independence Party has 14 candidates.
Hanna Vein is running in Drumheller-Stettler as a candidate for the Wildrose Loyalty Coalition. This party is led by Paul Hinman. He is the former leader of the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta and served as MLA from 2004 to 2008 for Cardston-Taber-Warner and then from 2009 to 2012 in Calgary-Glenmore. The party is running with 16 candidates.
The date of the election is May 29.
Advance polls in Drumheller- Stettler are from May 23 to May 27. See pages 14-16 in this week’s issue of The Drumheller Mail for more information.
Returning Officer Janice Hoover says identification requirements are the biggest thing voters are to be aware of.
“People can beat that by registering their physical addresses online ahead of the election. For example, on your driver’s license it says Box 23 Drumheller, if you go online or phone the office, we can put in your physical address,” she said. “Since it is in the system, you are good to vote.”
She also says to pay attention to your Where to Vote cards.
“If you have any doubts, or if you have a question, you should phone the office,” she said.
Hoover says the best resource for voters is the website. It provides all kinds of information, such as where to vote, how to register and other useful information.
The Drumheller-Stettler Returning Office can be reached at 1-833-483-2802.

Berm construction expecting June wrap up

Newcastle Diagram

Construction of the Newcastle, Midland, North Drumheller Grove Plaza, and Willow Estates berms continues to move forward, and Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO) anticipates work on these projects should be complete by the end of June.
Once construction of these berms is completed, work will begin to plant trees and shrubs with five new trees planted for every tree which was removed prior to construction beginning.
“While we had an early start to winter in November 2022, and a cool spring so far, this has only resulted in a couple of weeks delays, and we do expect the four berm projects currently ongoing to substantially (be) completed by the end of June,” shares DRFMO project director Deighen Blakely.
Ms. Blakely explains construction on the Newcastle berm began at the end of March and is anticipated to wrap up around the end of June.
She adds the contractor working on the berm, Pidherney’s Inc., will return in late July to early August to complete the project if necessary due to site access constraints.
DRFMO will continue monitoring for any potential unforeseen circumstances which could lead to delays, such as heavy rainfall during the spring, or high river water levels.
Landscaping, including tree and shrub planting, will be completed under a separate contract.


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