News

Assisted living project gets address

City council approved the sale of a serviced 3.75-acre parcel for a dollar to Portage Assisted Living Corporation (PALC). The non-profit corporation is proposing a $14 million 50-unit assisted living complex – the first of its kind in Portage la Prairie - to be built on the site. PALC co-chairs Al Braun and Vern Crandell describe the project’s new address as being ‘a quiet, peaceful location off of Dufferin Ave. E., east of the Portage Clinic and the Douglas Campbell Lodge.

City council approved the sale of a serviced 3.75-acre parcel for a dollar to Portage Assisted Living Corporation (PALC). The non-profit corporation is proposing a $14 million 50-unit assisted living complex – the first of its kind in Portage la Prairie - to be built on the site. PALC co-chairs Al Braun and Vern Crandell describe the project’s new address as being ‘a quiet, peaceful location off of Dufferin Ave. E., east of the Portage Clinic and the Douglas Campbell Lodge.

Groundbreaking as early as spring 2018, possible occupancy summer 2019

Mickey Dumont
Herald Leader

A Portage la Prairie city council vote Monday night to sell a parcel of serviced land for a long-awaited assisted living project here, was greeted by a round of applause from the large gray power delegation in attendance.
City council approved the sale of a serviced 3.75-acre parcel for a dollar to Portage Assisted Living Corporation (PALC). The non-profit corporation is proposing a $14 million 50-unit assisted living complex – the first of its kind in Portage la Prairie - to be built on the site. PALC co-chairs Al Braun and Vern Crandell describe the project’s new address as being ‘a quiet, peaceful location off of Dufferin Ave. E., east of the Portage Clinic and the Douglas Campbell Lodge.
The project is across the street from last month’s announced apartment and town home complex by Broadstreet Properties. Broadstreet will build on land the city first offered as a possible location for the assisted living project. The infrastructure deal the city struck with Broadstreet made it possible in part to offer PALC utility services to the property line. The infrastructure savings has made it possible to push ahead with the project.
In speaking to council pre-vote, Crandell said, “this project will fill a need for seniors who require a way of living independently while staying in the City of Portage la Prairie.”
Asked if there has been interest in the community in this project, “You wouldn’t believe it,” he said. “There is a huge interest here and we hear about it all of the time. When this opens, it will be full.”
The 3.75-acre parcel is enough land to include another 50 units in a not yet planned but anticipated phase two.
The co-chairs explained in researching the yet-to-be-named project, “Bridgepark Manor in Steinbach, seemed to be the facility that matched our vision the best,” said Crandell. “It started with a 50-suite, three story, wood frame building about five years ago.”
Braun and Crandell explained Steinbach’s assisted living project was so well accepted, phase two was added, is now completely occupied and there is a growing waiting list.
“We believe demand is the same here,” said Braun. “We have lost seniors who have had to move away because there was no assisted living accommodations.”
Mayor Irvine Ferris agrees. Following the vote Ferris said, “This is tremendous news for Portage and the area. This is something this committee has been working on since 2012. In the past we have lost some of our citizens because we did not have that kind of facility in Portage. We have an ageing population and there’s going to be a few of who will need that kind of accommodation in the future.”
The need for assisted living accommodations was again identified in 2012 when MLA Ian Wishart polled the community to learn what is most needed here.

 “The fact that this is the chosen place is a reality. It’s very desirable…we think it’s an excellent place. It’s near the resources that people that will be living in that facility will need, like the clinic, the hospital, Douglas Campbell Lodge and the Lions Manor; They’re all in that whole area. It’s ideally suited for this kind of structure,” Braun said.
The project’s next step is to get a development plan and a subdivision agreement with the city. PALC should expect to take possession in about five months.
As a non-profit, PALC is working at acquiring charitable status. In the interim, as it ramps up fund raising to get the first shovel in the ground, the city will offer tax receipts to early donors and supports of the project.
“Until they get their charitable status anybody who wants to step up to the plate and make a donation to this very worthwhile cause can do it at city hall,” Ferris said.
PALC is optimistic it can break ground in the spring of 2018 and begin welcoming residents by late spring or summer in 2019. “It may be somewhat optimistic,” explained Braun, “but that’s certainly our goal. There’s got to be a lot of fundraising done before that.”
“We feel that we can do the initial 50 (suites) here and hopefully within five years we’ll be looking at the second 50 suites,” Crandell said. “It’s badly, badly needed. You wouldn’t believe how many people have asked us on the street, ‘when is this coming?’ It’s going to be full. There is no question.”
“We will be inviting the community to be part of this project in fundraising and we will be looking to the provincial and federal government for assistance as well,” Braun said. “We’re aware that the provincial representatives are meeting with the federal representatives sometime this month to see where the federal government is at with funding for seniors. They have a plan in place they want roll out for seniors in the very near future. I would think that a project like this would fit in with that kind of mandate very well.”
 



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