“Build it and they will come.”
As in the story, Field of Dreams, Rimbey residents appear more than ready for a new lodge that has now moved one step closer to reality.
A good crowd showed up at 11 a.m. on Wed., June 6 to stand by as officials including Mayor Rick Pankiw and Rimoka Housing chairman Paul McLauchlin and other officials made the first ceremonial dig with gold shovels.
It seemed to be a happy occasion, not mired down with past dissention or doubt, but simply filled with optimism and gratefulness.
After the official sod turning, and a few brief speeches, dignitaries joined about 100 guests who met at the Rimbey Drop In Centre for more speeches, lunch and entertainment.
Keynote speaker, Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing said the venerable Parkland Manor will give way to a new lodge by 2017. The new lodge shows our government’s commitment to providing quality accommodation for our seniors in the communities where they have lived so long.
Sigurdson commended Rimoka Housing Foundation for its hard work to get the project off the ground.
She also thanked Ponoka County for donating the land for the new lodge and its commitment to seniors.
“At the new lodge, residents will enjoy larger rooms, full in-suite washrooms and a home protected by up-to-date fire and safety systems. It will provide comfort for residents and peace of mind for their families and loved ones. I wish everyone the best as the new lodge project moves forward. I am looking forward to the day it opens and this area’s seniors have a great new home.”
McLauchlin punctuated his speech with the word, ‘finally.’
“When we got the funding,” I said, “finally,” today when we held the sod turning ceremony, I said, “finally” and when we hold the ribbon cutting I will say, ‘finally,’ one last time.
McLauchlin thanked the speakers for their loyalty.
“People know projects like this take a long time and through it all the community as a whole has stood by us. I would like to thank all you folk for being so supportive.”
The mayor echoed McLauchlin’s words.
“Thank you to the people that are here and thank you to all our partners who helped.”
Shannon Boyce-Campbell, director of FCSS in Ponoka was the MC for the event, organized by Rimbey FCSS.
“When there’s work to be done, talk doesn’t mean much to seniors,” she said.
Kelly Wagar from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also spoke.
“This is the favourite part of my job,” he said. “Congratulations.”
Mayor Rick Pankiw thanked the seniors and all the partners who were involved with making the project happen from the onset.
“Thank you to the people that are here and all our partners.”
He gave special tribute to the Rimoka board chairman.
“Without Paul we wouldn’t have gotten this far. He is the driving force behind it.”
Derek Keller, area manager for Rimbey Hospital & Care Centre and Rimbey & Winfield Home Care from Alberta Health Services also spoke briefly at the ceremonies.
Christine Hedges gave an overview of the history of Rimbey following the speeches.