Addition planned for Pleasantview

Pleasantview Lodge in High Prairie could accommodate rising demand as Heart River Housing proposes to add 20 units to the existing 53 independent-living units for seniors

Richard Froese
South Peace News

More seniors’ housing in High Prairie is part of a plan by Heart River Housing.

Heart River plans to add 20 units at Pleasantview Lodge and relocate its offices from Pleasantview to the old RCMP building, now occupied by KC’s Factory Furniture.

Demand for units at Pleasantview is growing.

“The waitlist for the lodge and independent-living units has increased 135 per cent in the past two years,” says Heart River CAO Lindsay Pratt.

“We currently have more than 50 people on our waitlist.”

Proposed plans are outlined in a letter and business plan dated June 25 to municipal councils after Heart River reviewed a needs assessment completed in 2019.

“The information shows a consistent increase in the need for seniors’ housing across the region,” Pratt writes in the letter.

“Statistics show a major increase in seniors over the next 25 years within the region and across the country.”

Strategic priorities for 2020-21 were approved by the Heart River board at a strategic planning session in June 20.

“The priorities are laid out in no particular order,” Pratt says.

“Some of the projects depend on funding out of our control and we will wait until that funding is available.”

The final business plan will be presented to the 11 member municipalities shortly, the letter states.

Heart River seniors’ project sub-committee recommends an additional 20 units to Pleasantview that currently has 53 units. The recommendation is based on the housing needs study in High Prairie completed in late 2019.

Heart River proposes to launch preliminary work in July 2020 to start construction in March 2021.

Cost of the project is pegged at $7.6 million.

Heart River proposes to get funding from Heart River lodge capital reserves and loans.

Pratt says Heart River plans to buy an existing building in town [old police station].

“The new facility will be home to central administration, a shop and storage facility,” Pratt says.

Heart River has already completed a pre-purchase study on the building condition, renovation costs and functionality of the building.

Pratt says Heart River plans to complete renovations in January and move in the spring.

The assessment in 2019 showed no additional social housing is warranted at this time in Big Lakes County in the hamlets of Faust, Grouard and Kinuso.

Heart River Housing was was established as a management body under the Alberta Housing Act in 1995.

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