The new affordable housing development for seniors in Clairmont has been under construction for almost a year now, and Minister for Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson got a tour of the facility Wednesday. She maintains the province sees seniors housing as a priority, and increased funding for the Grande Spirit Foundation by two per cent or nearly $5 million this year.
“Because a lot of the facilities are quite aged. We did, unfortunately, inherit a billion dollars in deferred maintenance from the previous government and so a lot of it is renewal; even making sure that sprinkler systems are up to code because many of the facilities were built 30, 40 years ago.”
Sigurdson says more new seniors and affordable housing facilities for the region should be announced in the next few years, following the finalization of a report set for next spring. While there are long waiting lists in the Grande Prairie region, Sigurdson argues many residents want to stay home as long as possible. She says they should take advantage of new low-interest loans available for repairs or modifications.
“Sometimes, they want to stay in their home but they need to renovate the bathroom, because the tub’s not working anymore and they need to have something like a shower because of mobility issues. That [loan] can be really helpful so people can age in their own homes in the communities that they have lived in for years close to family and friends.”
That desire to remain in their community is what Sigurdson says is the highest priority expressed to her by seniors across the province. The Edmonton-area MLA is up in the Peace region for two days also meeting with seniors at lodges in Grande Prairie, Peace River and Fairview.