MPC approves assisted living facility

The City’s Municipal Planning Commission gave the go ahead to development of a 144-unit assisted living facility in the Clearview Ridge Area.

To be built by Covenant Health, the facility will include units with common lounges, dining rooms, spas, meeting rooms and nursing units.

Kevin Cowan, senior director of Covenant Health, said he expects construction to start on the first 100 units next April.

He said 24 of the units would be for those with conditions such as dementia, and the other 76 for those requiring ongoing care.

“They may require 24/7 assistance with all activities of daily life, but they’re stable in their condition.”

There are also eight couple suites, allowing husbands and wives to stay together when one of the two requires care, he said.

‘Couple’ is also loosely defined, as Cowan pointed out it could be for two sisters or two friends living together for example.

“This project really supports families in staying together.”

The second phase, the additional 44 units, will follow at an undetermined time.

If plans for that phase weren’t coming together for a considerable time, Covenant Health would have to re-submit a revised landscaping plan as part of the conditions MPC agreed on for the facilitly.

Cowan said the timing of phase two depends on what’s required in terms of care.

“The beauty of having it in two phases is that gives us some flexibility in what goes in there,” he said, adding that that portion could be designated to more care for those with dementia or palliative care, for example.

Cowan said that the project will receive grant money from the province for up to 50% of capital costs. Covenant Health would carry the remainder of those costs, and they are currently working on an operating agreement with Alberta Health Services.

Meanwhile, last week, Alberta Health Services announced it has rescinded lay off notices it gave to more than 100 nursing staff after the closure of two City nursing homes and the transfer of several employees to the newly opened Extendicare Michener Hill.

Guy Smith, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said as far as he knows, things are in a holding pattern right now.

He said he’s awaiting a long-term plan from AHS in terms of how the hiring situation will continue to be dealt with.

There are a total of 280 beds in Extendicare Michener Hill, which exceeds the number of beds in Valley Park Manor and the Red Deer Nursing Home.