South Peace News
Plans to add seniors’ housing units to Pleasantview Lodge in High Prairie are moving along.
“The building is going ahead full steam,” says Heart River Housing CAO Lindsay Pratt, who updated Big Lakes County council at its meeting Sept. 9.
To meet the growing demand, Heart River will add 20 units to the lodge that currently has 53 units.
“The waitlist for the lodge and independent-living units has increased 135 per cent in the past two years,” Pratt says.
“We currently have more than 50 people on our waitlist.
“Statistics show a major increase in seniors over the next 25 years within the region and across the country.”
Requests for proposal for the project are being accepted until Sept. 22.
“We hope to have a contractor by the end of November and be in the ground next spring,” Pratt says.
He says it will take just over one year to complete the project.
Heart River will engage the community in the design phase from December to March, with plans for an open house.
“We want community input,” Pratt says.
Various design plans for units will be included.
“With the addition, we want to give residents options for the size of rooms,” Pratt says.
“We’ll still give options for low-income seniors and moderate-income seniors.”
The project is part of a business plan for 2020-21. Cost of the Pleasantview project is estimated at $7.6 million.
“We need to borrow and we’re exploring lots of options,” Pratt says.
To make way for the expansion at the lodge, the central office will also move from Pleasantview to a new home base on 58 Street in a building formerly occupied by KC’s Factory Direct Furniture and McLaren Technical.
“We hope to be in by January,” Pratt says.
Heart River’s seniors’ project sub-committee recommended an additional 20 units to Pleasantview. The recommendation is based on the housing needs study in High Prairie completed in late 2019.
Pratt says the design will also be valuable for plans to add 10 units at Villa Beausejour in Falher, currently with 69 units.
“We hope to use plans for Pleasantview as a template for the Ville Beausejour,” he says.
“The Falher project will start about one year later.”
Pratt says the Pleasantview project will be the fourth major addition to the lodge that opened in 1960 with 30 units.
“It just keeps growing and growing,” Pratt says.
Heart River manages about 900 units in lodges and housing complexes and employs about 100 people in 13 communities. They represent 11 municipalities including the Town of High Prairie, Big Lakes County, the Town of Falher, the Town of McLennan, the Village of Donnelly, the Village of Girouxville, the M.D. of Smoky River, Northern Sunrise County, the Town of Valleyview, the M.D. of Greenview and the Town of Fox Creek.