Plans in the works for proposed new lodge

An announcement by Wild Rose MLA Joe Anglin that $13.3 million is up for grabs to build a new lodge in Rimbey has still not been confirmed.

An announcement by Wild Rose MLA Joe Anglin that $13.3 million is up for grabs to build a new lodge in Rimbey has still not been confirmed.

However, the announcement has resulted in bringing to light information regarding the proposed lodge.

Denis Beesley, president of Bethany Group, who is the CAO for Rimoka Housing Foundation said the process of building a new lodge is complicated and involves players on a municipal, provincial and federal level.

And while he said obtaining the funding would be exciting, there is a formal process to be followed.

“We need to get all the players in the same room and we need to get input from the seniors. It is their home. It is them who will be the most impacted and it is important we let them know first what is going on.”

Beesley said Alberta Social Housing Corporation, a Crown cooperation of the provincial government, will own the project, if it goes ahead.

The Crown corporation has been in existence for several years. Municipal Affairs receives money from the Corporation which is used for such projects as new and renovated lodges.

Money is also obtained from The Federal Government to build new lodges.

“The proposed Rimbey project will belong to the Social Housing Corporation,” he said.

“It is a complicated process, and nothing happens too quickly,” he said.

Once the funding is in place, he said Rimoka and Bethany Group will be the agents who will work with the Social Housing Corporation to begin the process of building the lodge.

Plans now in the wings include renovating part of the existing lodge and building a new lodge to allow for 80 or more units.

Beesley said the cost of the project has not yet been determined.

“$13.3 million has been bandied around, but prices always fluctuate.”

While plans are in the infancy state and no formal announcement has been made, Beesley is looking ahead optimistically.

“It’s exciting. When it happens it will be a positive for the community and we are looking forward to seeing the process begin.”

Recently Anglin, in a press release dated April 15, said he had received confirmation from the Acting Minister of Municipal Affairs, Greg Weadick that the community of Rimbey and the Rimoka Housing Board had received $13.3 million for a new seniors lodge in Rimbey.

But Emily Woods, press secretary for the Minister said Weadick never confirmed that information with Joe Anglin.

However, she said the government is prepared to make a statement at a later date.

“Redeveloping senior lodges is a priority for the government and an announcement on funding for projects will be coming the near future,” she said.

Rimoka board chairman Paul McLauchlin agreed Anglin’s announcement was premature.

“While an announcement is imminent, there are critical pieces to the decision, funding and approval process, that have not been met. Funding for rural senior’s lodge renewal for projects like Rimbey involve federal funding and we must respect the communications protocol in that funding agreement.”

The Rimoka Housing Foundation was created under the Homes for the Aged Act in 1959. Its purpose is to provide seniors and social housing services in the County of Ponoka and the towns of Rimbey and Ponoka.

The board consists of representatives from the Rimbey, Ponoka, Ponoka County and the Royal Canadian Legion. It is a nonpartisan sovereign board that works cooperatively with all levels of government in order to provide for senior and social housing needs.