Kneehill County supports proposed seniors facility

·2 min read

A new senior facility to serve residents of Kneehill County has been an ongoing discussion between the Town of Trochu, Trochu Housing Corporation (THC), and Kneehill County, and council voted whether to support backing the town and THC borrowing $20 million to build the facility during the Tuesday, February 9 regular council meeting.

The new facility, which would replace the ageing St. Mary’s Health Care Centre, was first brought before Kneehill County council as a request by THC to help borrow $25 million required to build the capital project; Kneehill County council requested the town and THC return to a future meeting with additional information and a business plan.

“This is a shovel-ready project that both federal and provincial governments are looking at enhancing senior’s care,” Councillor Wade Christie said during the meeting. He added, “If we don’t take this opportunity on a shovel-ready project, someone else will, and I believe the grant money will be available if we get our ducks in a row.”

The project is estimated to cost $32 million and would provide residents of Kneehill County with long-term care and Designated Supportive Living (DSL) 4 and 4D, the highest levels of support including dementia.

A portion of the project would be funded through grant funding, life-lease sales, and capital financing; however, a remaining amount would require the town to borrow funds.

The Town of Trochu is unable to obtain these funds on its own and has requested Kneehill County to support them in securing these funds.

Council had concerns regarding the risk to Kneehill County if they supported the project. However, Trochu Mayor Barry Kletke and THC representative Sam Smalldon ensured there would be “no money going to the county or from the county.”

Following a question and discussion period, Councillor Kenneth King motioned to support backing THC and the Town of Trochu--with several conditions included. One of the conditions is the pre-sale of 90 per cent of life-lease units prior to starting construction, with financial backing from the county available for three years once all intermunicipal agreements have been signed.

The motion was carried with a vote of six in favour and one opposed.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail