Residents have unanswered questions about future plans

Residents of Parkland Manor were silent when they heard the news that $13.3 million had been approved

Parkland Manor residents Ruth Casey and Mary Brown chat before the announcement of the funding for seniors’ housing is made.

Residents of Parkland Manor were silent when they heard the news that $13.3 million had been approved to upgrade the existing lodge and build a new one.

However, once the cake and coffee had been served, and the dignitaries had left the building, the news flash spread like wildfire as residents pondered many unanswered questions.

Parkland Manor is a home to these people. For some, it has been their home for many years. The fact that changes are forthcoming, even if it is positive, leaves many unanswered questions.

Residents had been told to meet in the dining room at 10 a.m. last Wednesday because they were going to hear some good news.

They did what was asked of them and they weren’t disappointed.

Blaine Calkins, Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen and Greg Weadick, Minister of Municipal Affairs, assured them $13.3 million was approved. The funding is to go to fix up the existing lodge and build a new one.

While plans still appear hazy, the dollars are in place, and Bethany CAO Denis Beasley says planning will begin immediately and work will be underway by next spring. The new lodge is to be built on county land located south of the Best Western Hotel.

Some residents say they are happy with the status quo.

“I don’t think I’ll ever use a new facility,” said resident Ruth Casey. “I’m 90-years-old and I’m comfortable here. They have wonderful staff.”

“It will be good, but I’m not complaining about this one,” said resident Art Schell.

Beauchamp Colclough, who was visiting his mother-in-law Eileen Dunn, a resident of Parkland Manor said he sees the project as “fantastic. It will make a huge difference.”

Resident Brian MacKilligan also seemed excited about the proposal.

However, when construction would begin and how long it would take to complete, what happens to the existing lodge and where the new lodge is to be located are questions that residents still ponder.

Mayor Rick Pankiw assured residents he would be available for any questions they may have.

“My door is always open,” he said.

Rimoka board chairman Paul McLauchlin said the goal of the board is to continue to work with the residents, staff and other agencies to ensure the transition moves ahead as seamlessly as possible.

“We will continue to have regular meetings with residents and staff to update them,” he said.