A proposal before the provincial government asking for approval to go ahead with a multi-million dollar aging in place residence for Rimbey could get the green light within a couple of weeks.
Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Joe Anglin, who met with Rimbey town council at its Sept. 24 meeting, said the proposal is in the hands of Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths.
Anglin encouraged the mayor and the council to meet with the minister at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association annual convention last week in Edmonton.
“We have a desperate need for a new facility,” he said. “This one means a lot to me,” he added. “I’m lobbying and I need the mayor and council to get the message out there as well.”
Rimoka Housing Foundation chair Paul McLauchlin, who was also in attendance at the meeting along with board member Keith Beebe, is confident the proposal will go ahead.
“The question is ‘when’ as opposed to ‘if,’” he said.
McLauchlin told councillors he wanted to meet with them to garner their input regarding the best possible use for Parkland Manor when the new residence was in place.
He said the building is owned by the province, but it is located within the community, and therefore, council needed to be part of the discussions regarding its future.
“It’s an older building and will require work, for sure, but we want to be sure everyone is on the same page as far as what happens to it. We need to approach Municipal Affairs as a team.”
Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson said council planned to meet with the minister at the AUMA conference.
“We will do everything we can to move the project forward,” he said. “It’s great that we’re all on board and moving in the same direction.”
Earlier this year, Ponoka County council, agreed to purchase 8.5 acres of land in Johnson’s Estates northwest of the Rimbey Community Centre to be used for an aging in place centre.
The land deal has not yet been finalized, but McLauchlin said there are only a few conditions to be ironed out before it is completed. The title of the land will remain in the county’s name until approval for the senior’s housing project is obtained from the province.
The town has agreed to pay approximately $170,000 for the cost of installing the water and sewer lines from the nearest main to the property.
Rimbey’s accommodations for seniors are Parkland Manor and Kansas Ridge 1 and 11.
Parkland Manor was built in 1972 and has 63 rooms. Kansas Ridge I was built in 1978 and has 16 one-bedroom living accommodations and Kansas Ridge II was constructed in 1984 and has 20 units.
Anglin noted the hallways in Parkland Manor are too narrow to take patients out on stretchers, there is no fire suppressant system and the kitchen is too small. The roof, which has leaked in the past, has been repaired, but the building is aging and continually needs upgrades.