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New seniors lodge opens in Clairmont

The new seniors facility in Clairmont has officially opened its doors to residents. Roughly 30 to 35 people have already moved into Grande Spirit Foundation’s Lakeview home, but the 150 room facility can house up to 175.

Applications are still being accepted. Foundation general manager Debbie Normington says she hopes to be at least 80 per cent full by the end of the year.

“We’ve committed to probably another 20 that will be moving in over the next two weeks and we’ve got many more on our wait list. We’re doing regular tours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and so there’s lots of interested people coming and taking a look.”

Resident Gail Habicht was one of the first to move in this summer. She’s says she’s glad she was, as it’s helped her create relationships with other residents and employees.

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“I’ve called here home right from the very start. The staff… they have been totally awesome,” Habicht says. “If I was talking to anybody that was thinking of going into a lodge, I’d say look at them all, make a knowledgeable decision, and if you do, you’ll be in Lakeview.”

Normington says that’s what they were hoping to achieve.

“We built a community; we built a home,” she says. “The frustrations with building a project, all the decisions that you have to make, when you see the residents building a community, coming home, trying to transition from their own homes into a new home, that was the purpose of the building.”

In addition to tall ceilings and brightly lit spaces, Lakeview has wide corridors to accommodate people with mobility devices. Helping to make it feel more like home is a family kitchen than can be booked for special occasions, a gym, and a library with a fireplace.

Outside the building, the County of Grande Prairie has built paved trails residents can use. Habicht says the location near Clairmont Lake was a big selling point for her. While she may not have a room with a direct view of the lake, she says she has plenty else to look at, including farmland, the hamlet of Clairmont, and the highway.

“In the fall, I’m going to see the farmers working on their field. I can always come to the common area and look at the lake, and I even have a body of water looking out of my [room], Ferguson Lake.”

The $44 million facility was built on five acres of land donated by the Carter family. It was funded in part by the County and federal and provincial governments, with ground breaking in July 2015.

“I think it’s a beautiful addition to this community,” says Normington, who is retiring this year. “It’s close to amenities and it’s close to Grande Prairie, but it certainly has that rural feel for people that are coming from a rural setting. It’s a lovely place to call home.”

The project has also gotten support from surrounding municipalities, and CNRL, which presented a $200,000 cheque at the grand opening Thursday and helped remove a pipeline from under the site before development. Only six months into construction, it also received a Global Award as The Most Outstanding Affordable Senior
Housing Project in the World in 2015.

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