It’s been in the works for about nine years, but ground was finally broken on the Charis Village Seniors Housing Project in Lacombe last week.
On Thursday, members of the Charis Village Housing Society, dignitaries and other interested parties gathered at the corner of C&E Trail and 72 Ave. to officially mark the start of construction on the over $22-million project set to bring a variety of seniors housing options to the community.
Warren Schnoor, one of the society members, said they were happy to see the long-awaited project finally begin.
“A lot of hurdles of (wondering) if it’s going to happen are past us and now it’s just working on getting it done,” he said. “There’s so much work that goes into it prior to breaking ground, but there’s still a tremendous amount of work to be done going forward now,” he said. “But a lot of hurdles and (wondering) if it’s going to happen are now past us and now it’s working on getting it done.”
Schnoor says the vision for Charis Village is to create a retirement community where seniors can stay in Lacombe and age within the same area, from an independent lifestyle, to assisted living and long term care, and do so alongside those they care about most.
“In many cases right now, if you have spouses who have different health needs, you can run into situations where a couple can actually be separated, which to me is very sad,” said Schnoor. “To have a spouse you’ve been married to for 30,40,50 years and suddenly be apart because you have different needs would be quite upsetting, so it’s important to allow a person to age in place.”
Charis Village will be a little different from some facilities in that it’s striving to be more than just a retirement village, but a “community of care” where physical, mental and spiritual needs will be met, meaning they’ll operated with Christian principles in mind.
They intend for those who will work at Charis to have the care of seniors be their utmost priority and have the same mindset of providing them with a much higher level of care for those living in the village.
The timeline for the project will see it built over a number of years.
Heavy equipment was expected to arrive this week to level the area and survey with hopes to commence on getting underground piping and shallow utilities in the ground before winter officially sets in. Come the spring, sidewalk and street installation will happen.
Phase 1 of the project, geared at seniors still looking to live independently, is also planned to begin as early in the spring as possible. Up to 10 duplexes – or 20 duplex units – will be built, as well as an apartment building with 46 units, which is expected to take 10 months to complete.
The hope is for people to begin taking residence in early 2020. Sales are already underway for units.
Over the following years, more independent living units will be built, as well as assisted living facilities and long-term care as well, but for now their focus is very much on Phase 1.
“Our next biggest challenge will be to find the people who want to make Charis their home,” said Schnoor.
More information on Charis Village can be found online at www.charisvillage.ca, but those with questions or concerns can contact them at email@example.com or at (403)506-0051. A sales office will also be open in downtown Lacombe out of the Parkland Place building at 306-5033 52 St.