VDHF’s New CAO Update
The Vermilion and District Housing Foundation welcomed a new CAO, Carrie Kohlruss in March 2022. Kohlruss approached Town Council on December 20, to ask for a letter supporting their bid for a proposal to get a DSL4 and 4D (Dementia care) grant for Vermilion.
She had previously approached the County of Vermilion River as well and will be submitting her bid on January 6.
The community has been seeking this level of care (between the lodge and long-term care) since the prior group of council members were elected and she said by the time residents are assessed they have often surpassed the existing DSL3 level, putting them in communities farther away.
Currently, she said the Lodge has 14 vacant beds out of 86, while DSL3 (the lower level) has 10 empty beds out of 40.
“Vermilion is considered one of the priority communities within Alberta. Currently, we are working on a proposal of ideas of where we could get funding to build a new facility attached to our building. Because of the way it was built, the standards today do not allow that to be used as DSL4. There was a lot of effort put forth and unfortunately, it did not come to fruition,” said Kohlruss. “We are competing with about 20 other communities for a grant for our DSL4. If we were to get it, it would involve a demolition and a build, but just a reminder that nothing has been approved.”
Councillor Robert Snow said they looked into the most feasible and cheapest spot and said, “We really want SL4 in our community, but it will also come at a cost to our community.”
Kohlruss said the DSL3 area would likely go the way of the dinosaur and if so, they have discussed a few options as the space would still be required to generate revenue. If they develop a DSL4 area down the road, they will still need the same amount of staff as well as an RN, LPN, and likely a bit of extra dietary staff and extra housekeeping staff.
Councillor Joshua Rayment said in the future if the impact to the town ends up being higher than the amount requisitioned, he’d like to have the opportunity to say no to the project. The motion for the letter of support to request the funding from the provincial government for senior level 4 care was carried.
Prior to being the CAO, Kohlruss was the CFO for nine months. Having gone to high school in Kitscoty, she was previously from Lloydminster and moved to Vermilion in October.
“I love it; it’s been wonderful. I know Vermilion well, and our main street is so beautiful, and people are super friendly here. I feel like I’ve been here forever,” said Kohlruss.
When she began at the Vermilion Valley Lodge, she immediately enjoyed the whole atmosphere working with the seniors and said, “I love seeing their smiling faces every day and being able to serve them; listen to their needs and wants and try to make this a better place for them.”
Their most recent COVID lockdown, she said was less stringent than the previous ones.
“I want to wish the entire community and all our families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Moving forward in 2023 I’m hoping we can have some good news we can share with the community. It will be better than ever here at the Lodge and DSL in 2023,” said Kohlruss.