Tuesday, June 29, 2010  
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Pass Herald Close July 1-2
The York Creek Lodge, built as a seniors lodge and completed in 1980, is quickly reaching the end of its current useful lifespan according to the Crowsnest Pass Senior Housing Authority. Plans are now in motion to expand and renovate the Lodge, more than doubling the available rooms.
Pat Lundy and Nestor Chorney of the Senior Housing Authority appeared before council as a delegation on Tuesday, June 22, to explain the plans and request municipal assistance for a portion of the overall cost.
Lundy told council that the building no longer meets provincial standards nor the needs of residents. She said that numerous seniors have to leave the Pass when they are no longer able to live independently.
“Over the years,” she said, “the level of care needed for many of the residents has increased significantly.”
She said that the current resident rooms are half the size of current standards, while the bathrooms are so small that wheelchairs cannot fit through the doors. Likewise, hallways are too narrow for two wheelchairs to pass each other.
“The building is outdated,” said Lundy, “both in structure and its ability to provide the levels of care currently needed in Crowsnest Pass.”
Originally, she said, seniors would move into the lodge when they were still relatively independent, but today many seniors require higher levels of care. The building was not designed to handle these levels of care, she said.
Currently the lodge has 58 beds. By renovating the existing section and expanding both outward and upward into multiple floors, they plan to reach a total of 123 beds, in rooms large enough to meet modern standards. These would include 40 Designated Assisted Living beds, which is a level of service between an independent seniors’ lodge and a long term care facility. It would also include 20 dementia beds and five community support beds.
Lundy said that if further expansion is needed in the future, they have determined that the site could be expanded once again to a total of just over 200 beds. “It’s an ideal site,” she said.
She told council that the estimated capital cost for the project is in the range of $20 to $26 million, and could be as high as $30 million. She said that provincial grants are available that will cover 50 to 75 percent of the costs, while the Senior Housing Authority believes it could carry a further $6-7 million as a mortgage, on top of planned fundraising efforts.
On top of that, she said, they are asking for a financial commitment from the municipality of a minimum of $1 million, to round out the cost and be reflected in their application for grant funds.
The York Creek Lodge is hosting a public presentation on these plans, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7, at the Lodge. Lundy said that everyone is invited to attend to learn more.
Councillor David Cole, who sits as a council representative on the Senior Housing Authority, said that if the municipality borrows the $1 million and pays it back over 10 years as a separate part of the tax roll, it would cost approximately $30 per resident, per year.
“We have to upgrade the old (lodge) right now,” said Councillor Cole.
Councillor Ian MacLeod added, “I think we all agree that the old one has done its time.”
Council agreed to bring the matter up for debate at its next regular scheduled council meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, July 6.
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