Monday, November 2, 2015

Crestview Lodge construction project update

(left to right) Town Councillor Doug Thornton, Project Manager Tracy Wells, Primary Consultant George Berry, CAO and Lodge Manager Millie Loeffler, MD Reeve Brian Hammond
Josh Davis - On Saturday October 28 Members of the Pincher Creek Foundation, Berry Architecture, and local officials and politicians met at Crestview Lodge, to inform members of the public through local media of the  current status of the Crestview Lodge construction project.

Project Designer and principle consultant George Berry, Project Manager Tracy Wells of Berry Architecture, MD Reeve and Pincher Creek Foundation Chairman Brian Hammond, Pincher Creek Foundation CAO/Lodge Manager Millie Loeffler, and Town Councillor and Pincher Creek Foundation Vice Chairman and Town councillor Doug Thornton answered questions about the project. Millie Loeffler then took a moment of her time to explain details about the properties the Pincher Creek Foundation manages. Mayor Don Anderberg, a former board member of the Pincher Creek Foundation, was also in attendance as a member of the public. Following the press conference, the group attended a design meeting about the architectural plans for the new lodge.

“We wanted to call this meeting because we wanted everybody to stay up to speed on what we’re doing today,” said Thornton. “We’re just in the preliminary stages of working with George in designing the rough design of our building. We’re really excited about how that’s going.”

Pincher Creek's Mayor "Just call me Don" Don Anderberg
Loeffler explained that they’ve been in the process of replacing Crestview Lodge for about seven years. “This year is what really kicked the project off for us. Of course in March of this year Alberta Seniors announced that they were going to give us 9.8 million dollars funding towards our new lodge project,” said Loeffler. “The total value of our project is estimated to be around twelve and a half million. The government’s portion, of course, is 80% of our project, to a maximum of 9.8 million. The rest of the project’s funding is coming from local municipalities, both the MD and the Town of Pincher Creek, and the Village of Cowley, as well as some of our reserves from the Foundation,” explained Loeffler. “During the summer we were engaged in the selection process of our principle consultant, and we officially appointed Berry Architecture early September. From here on in we’re going to be engaged in committee meetings, design planning which is what we’re doing today, and excitement is building.” Berry was also the principle consultant chosen before the Foundation was forced to retender, and called the project "shovel ready" back in March.

George Berry of Berry Architecture
Thornton made clear that the new lodge would be built utilizing the same footprint, and that residents would not be forced to move during the project, but would be moved into the new facility before the old facility is completely demolished. “There’s no Band-Aid solutions here, we’re able to start from scratch, which is exactly what we want,” said Thornton. “The new designs that George has been talking about, they’re really pretty exciting. We’ll be able to upgrade the way the rooms are going to be designed, we’ll be able to upgrade them to higher levels of care if that’s needed sometime within the next fifty to sixty years. I don’t imagine we’ll be doing this again in any of our lifetimes.”

Berry explained that his plan has incorporated elements going back to conversations he had with Loeffler years ago. “We were going back through, and pulling up notes from the last big sessions we had in 2011 making sure that everything we gathered with Millie over the years isn’t going to be lost. We’re really thrilled to actually be able to continue that, so they’re not going to have to take a huge step back.”

Berry also spoke about how the design plans have changed since March, calling those plans. “The catalyst for moving forward.” Berry said he expects to have the designs sign-off very quickly. “Once we have that, then we’ll be in a position to showcase it to the residents. It’s their home,” he stressed, explaining that many rooms will have additional space. Berry also explained that the design plans are forward thinking, accounting for potential changes in the level of care provided and the technologies available. “It’s going to be a very energy efficient building, that’s one of the things we’re certainly passionate about, and the Foundation has been from the very start.” This process started with the way the building fits into their site and how weather will affect it. “We’ve got it located in such a manner on the site in such a way to maximize the sun.” The proposed heating systems and triple thick windows will also help with energy efficiency. Berry said that much of this design work has been made possible by modern computer technology. Berry said that while the plans have changed since last March, these changes should be looked at as an evolution in the design.

“We love doing seniors housing, it’s probably 75-80% of our work, and I love getting into the lodges and talking with them ,” said Berry, explaining that the needs for seniors often vary depending on where they are located. While Berry’s staff is based out of Red Deer he said he expects it to be a boon to the local economy “When we get into construction we’ll see a lot of local connection here. The size of this project is going to bring some great activity.” Berry expects to spend 18 months on construction, with a tentative completion date in September 2017.

“You can be assured that yesterday’s budget will not affect this development,” clarified Thornton. “This was signed off, and we have our prime consultant in place.”

Loeffler took some more time following the press conference to explain the distinction between the Pincher Creek Foundation and the Crestview Lodge, which is the most well recognized property that they manage. Their overall portfolio includes 83 units.

“The Pincher Creek Foundation is a housing management body, one of about 106 across the province of Alberta, appointed officially in about 1995 under a ministerial order. Crestview Lodge however was built before we were officially a foundation. Crestview Lodge was built in 1961. Housing management bodies provide affordable housing for low-income seniors and families,” explained Loeffler. “We receive subsidies from the province so that we can accommodate low-cost rentals. We’re the appointed body for Pincher Creek area.” The Pincher Creek Foundation also managed Canyon Manor, a few cottages alongside Canyon Manor, an area called Willow Court, and two fourplexes on Main Street in Pincher Creek to be used as family social housing. “They’re regulated under the social housing regulations, which means rent is 30% of the families regular monthly income,” explained Loeffler.

“We also administer the Direct Rent Supplement Program for this area,” she continued, explaining that the Foundation currently has 22 clients in it. This program operates similarly to the Foundations social housing programs, expecting clients to pay 30% of their income as rent.

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