St. Albert, Morinville projects priority for Sturgeon Foundation
Foundation waiting on government funding restructuring to tackle new buildings
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 06:00 am
A second phase for North Ridge Lodge and an affordable housing project in Morinville are on the top of the Sturgeon Foundation’s priority list.
“That’s our main focus right now. St. Albert, top priority. And Morinville is right behind it,” said the foundation’s executive director, Dennis Magnusson.
Since the start of the Sturgeon Foundation the focus has been mostly on seniors’ housing, Magnusson said.
“The past couple years, the focus is shifting. The government is encouraging organizations such as ours to look at affordable housing for all age groups,” Magnusson said.
That encouragement has the Sturgeon Foundation considering the Blue Sky project – a complex that would have a blend of residents in need of affordable housing, a long term care facility, perhaps some clinical and commercial space available and perhaps could even house a new seniors’ centre for St. Albert.
That Blue Sky project, Magnusson said, is just an idea at the moment. But it’s important to have ideas on deck.
“It has to start somewhere,” he said.
Still, be it the ideas and the wants, like building Blue Sky or replacing Chateau Mission, or the priorities like the second phase of North Ridge Lodge and affordable housing for Morinville, the Sturgeon Foundation is waiting on a restructuring of provincial government funding.
The traditional way of getting funding for projects has been to receive government grants, perhaps mortgage the property and maybe some fundraising in the community, Magnusson said.
“That whole methodology is under review by the government right now. It’s going to change and the reason it’s going to change is there’s a huge need across the province,” he said. Many facilities are decades old, and expectations and needs have changed.
The update on funding is expected from the government in 2014, he said. “We are expecting they will be announcing how that will be done next year.”
For St. Albert, there has already been some planning for the second phase to North Ridge Place so the foundation can move fast once there is money and approval.
“We could have a projected started within a year of that time,” Magnusson said. “We’re interested in doing this as soon as possible.”
Out in Morinville, the intergenerational affordable housing apartment they want to build could house 59 or 74 units depending on if it’s three or four storeys. While waiting for the provincial government’s funding restructuring, a company is being recruited to do a market analysis to demonstrate the need and sustainability for the project, Magnusson said.
Magnusson presented an informative update to St. Albert city council during their Aug. 19 meeting, something he said is done to keep councillors – and city staff – in the loop.
“We need their awareness and their support,” he said.