Back row from left, Mayor Bruce MacDuff, and MLA Richard Starke.
Front row from left, CAO Sheri Heller, Resident Helen Golinowski, Resident Albert Tovell, Reeve Daryl Watt, and Minister Lori Sigurdson at the Vermilion Valley Lodge Groundbreaking Ceremony on May 18. Photo Angela Mouly
The Vermilion & District Housing Foundation hosted a Groundbreaking Ceremony for their renovations at the Vermilion Valley Lodge on May 18.
Alberta Minister of Seniors and Housing, Lori Sigurdson, shared some staggering facts about seniors in Alberta.
“There are currently 15,000 families on waiting lists for affordable seniors housing in Alberta and with a billion dollars of needed maintenance, many seniors aren’t able to age in their community. Seniors built this province and deserve to have a place to live in their community,” said Sigurdson who knows the importance of having safe, affordable housing having spent 25 years as a social worker.
Sigurdson also recognizes the importance of seniors, having grown up in rural Alberta (Valleyview), she noted that the lodge was a cornerstone of their community, and was pleased to come support the build project in Vermilion. According to Sigurdson, the Alberta government has committed $1.2 billion over five years to complete 40 affordable seniors housing projects across the province and $200 million into home care.
The federal and provincial governments have supplied $10.2 million to the Vermilion Valley Lodge Project. With a design cost of $14.1 million, a the lodge will require a $2.45 million loan, and $1.5 million in fundraising. The committee has so far raised $600,000.
“The renovation is really needed; we need to upgrade the facilities in the community so that we are able to continue housing seniors here in comfort and safety. This is the most exciting thing for seniors in our community in a lot of years,” said Vermilion Valley Lodge CAO, Sheri Heller.
MLA, Richard Starke expressed how wonderful the day was for the community as Vermilion and Lloydminster lodges are among two of the oldest in the province and their renovations will allow seniors to stay in the community with the people they love. He noted the importance of allowing couples to stay together and age in place, and providing better lives for our seniors to whom we owe so much.
County of Vermilion River Reeve, Daryl Watt, said that for every 80 cents the government put in, combers of the community contributed 20 cents. He said that the current rooms had used up their useful lifestyle, and that the new facility is expected to be beautiful.
“It’s such a godsend to have seniors stay in our community,” said Watt.
Mayor, Bruce MacDuff reminded the audience that the Vermilion Valley Lodge opened in 1960, and after 57 years, he was excited to see “a new and more comfortable home for our family and friends, and one day ourselves. The new facility will allow residents to not just live, but live well.”
Dignitaries proceeded to turn soil in celebration of the project, and those who attended enjoyed visiting and refreshments provided by the Vermilion Credit Union.