From left Darren Young, chair of Bridges Community Living speaks during a press conference to announce the coming replacement of Piper Creek Lodge with a new 100-unit facility. Red Deer MLAs Kim Schreiner, Barb Miller and City Deputy Mayor Frank Wong look on. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Province announces $28 million to replace Piper Creek Lodge

A new 100-unit affordable housing facility will open in Spring of 2021

Set to be complete by Spring of 2021, a $28 million, 100-unit complex will be replacing Piper Creek Lodge.

“Piper Creek Lodge has spent the last 63 years as an example of a community project that was an innovation for seniors housing. We look forward to the new facility carrying on that tradition,” said Darren Young, chair, Bridges Community Living.

“This project has definitely been a journey. Along the way, we’ve had many, many travelling companions,” he added. “We’ve gone through three board chairs, multiple board members have come and gone, two Lodge managers, several staff members, four MLAs, three Ministers, two governments and a Foundation name change.”

Young added that current residents have also been involved in the process for a long time.

“They’re quite excited, and so are we,” he said.

“The Piper Creek Lodge, as mentioned, is the oldest in Alberta being constructed in 1956 – it’s been a fixture in Red Deer for 63 years,” he explained.

“Throughout this time, the Lodge and the Foundation have offered an invaluable service to our seniors and residents in this community,” he said.

Young also pointed out that Bridges Community Living now serves about six per cent of the low-income seniors in Red Deer. “But there is more that we believe we can do,” he said.

”We know for a fact that over 100 seniors are still waiting on our tenants’ lists,” he said. “This new facility will be a start to help us with that.

“It’s our hope that this project will create a modern, welcoming home that will enrich the lives of seniors for hopefully another 60 years in our community,” he added. “We are so grateful for this governmental partnership as well as all of the community support which has been been contributed to this soon-to-be-realized, awesome outcome.

“It’s been said that the test of a civilization is in the way it cares for its weak and aging. I would say the construction of this new facility will be a testament to the quality of this province and this community.”

Current residents can remain in the original lodge while the new facility is under construction at a site about half a kilometre away.

“This is a community that puts people first,” said Barb Miller, MLA for Red Deer South.

“Sixty-three years is quite the legacy. It’s also quite a long time for seniors to go without a new, safe, comfortable and modern home,” she said, adding the Province is working to support Albertans to stay in their own communities for as long as possible, “And to maintain their connections to their communities and those they love.

“I am so excited about this project,” she said, adding the Province has been inundated with inquiries about when the project would come to fruition. “We are so glad it’s finally happened.”

Deputy Mayor Frank Wong said City council is also excited to see the much-needed funding come in for the project.

“The Piper Creek Lodge has been part of our community since 1956, but our community has changed a lot since then,” he said. “As Red Deer and Central Alberta continue to grow, and facilities like the Piper Creek Lodge age, we have to make sure we are still providing affordable housing for seniors in our City,” he said.

“Affordable housing that enables seniors to continue to live and to age in the City that they call home.,” he said. “We look forward to the construction starting soon.”