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Construction Underway On Spirit River Seniors Housing Project

Artists Concept of new Spirirt River Lodge

The governments of Alberta and Canada are celebrating the start of construction on a new $24.8-million housing project that will provide needed homes for seniors with a range of care needs in Spirit River.

The new development will replace the Pleasantview Lodge and will have an increased capacity of 92 units. Of this, 40 units will be lodge spaces and 52 units will be designated supportive living spaces to help seniors age in the community as their care needs change.


Reeve Alvin Hubert of Saddle Hills County said:

"Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us for this truly historic moment. I would first like to welcome the Honourable Josephine Pon, Alberta's Minister of Seniors and Housing, to our community. Thank you for being here and for the imp[ortant role you have played in the realization of this new Supportive Living Facility that will support the seniors and families of Spirit River, the Central Peace and, in fact, the communities from all over the Peace Region. I remember when you came to visit us shortly after taking on your portfolio and the great conversations we had regarding the need for increased seniors support in our area. We were heartened by your commitment to our communities and let you know that the support was mutual. You were a great champion forour project and we all want to say,"Thank you Minister Pon." It is largely because of your efforts that we are breaking ground for this project today. I woiuld also likje to thanm Todd Loewen, the MLA for Central-Peace Notley, who has been a strong supporter of this project and our communities as a whole. His presence here today is just another indication of his commitment to the people of this region.

Steve Madden, as you know, is the CAO of the Grande Spirit Foundation. Steve has worked tirelessly, along with the foundation's board, to make this dream come true. We owe you, Steve, your staff, our Board Chair, Judy, and the entire board our deepest appreciation.

The Grande Spirit Foundation is made up of representatives from 11 municipalities all the way from the MD of Greenview in the South through both the City and County of Grande Prairie, the Towns of Beaverlodge, Sexsmith and Wembley and up to the G5, or the Central Peace Municipalities of Birch Hills County, the Village of Rycroft, the Town of Spirirt River, the MD of Spirit River amd Saddle Hills County.

We thank all of you for your contributions to the Grande Spirit Foundation and your unwavering support for this project. On behalf of the G5 communities I want to express how very pleased we are to see the culmination of these efforts as we all cheer this ground-breaking event.

The G5 is a truly unique group of municipalities which originally came together on an informal basis to work together for the common good of all of our residents. It is through the strength and effectiveness of this ongoing partnership that we have realized some of the most significant improvements for our region. Recently we have collaborated on the new regional water line, a raw water line from the Peace River giving us a sustainable water supply for future growth. The $40 million project announced in September of 2020 includes $16 million in funding from the Federal Government and $20 million from the Provincial Government with Saddle Hills County providing the balance.

We’ve also worked together on the Central Peace Health Center, a beautiful complex for doctors, dentists and other health care professionals and now, with the support of the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada, the new Spirit River Supportive Living Facility.

It took us several years and lots of hard work by some very dedicated people to make this project happen. Current and former elected officials as well as many current and former CAOs. They all deserve our thanks as well.

Joulia Whittledon, former CAO of Saddle Hills County, played a really central role in seeing this project. To her I want to say "thank you."

I witnessed the dedication of people in the seniors and health departments of the Government of Alberta from all over the Peace as well as down in Edmonton. They really put their hearts into this project. Although I can't name you all, we recognize your contributions and want to say "thanks."

Pleasant View Lodge has filled an essential role in helping our seniors to be able to live in their community and near their family and friends for as long as possible. But, with changing times and changing needs, many of our seniors have had to move and live far away from home in order to receive the care they need. We firmly believe that it is vital to keep our elders in the communities that they built and raised their families in for as long as we possibly can while giving them the care and support that they need. That is what this project is all about.

With increased levels of service such as the area of dementia care, 40 lodge suites and 52 designated supportive living suites, our elders will be able to stay in our community and be close to their family and friends.

Once again I would like to thank everyone who has made this project and today possible."


This project will support about 175 jobs during the planning, design and construction of the facility. Construction is underway and residents are expected to start moving into their new homes in spring 2024.

Federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen and Alberta Seniors and Housing Minister Josephine Pon took part in the groundbreaking ceremony June 3. The governments of Canada and Alberta provided $19.8 million for the project through the Canada-Alberta Bilateral Housing Agreement under the National Housing Strategy.

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Thanks to this investment, 92 seniors in Spirit River will soon have new, safe and supportive housing that they can proudly call their own, where they can age comfortably and with dignity. Across the country, we are working to find solutions to help support our most vulnerable. This is our National Housing Strategy at work.”

Ahmed Hussen, federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion


“To meet our government’s goal of providing every Canadian a place to call home, we need to prioritize those who find themselves at a disadvantage, including seniors. This investment will make a difference by building a more sustainable future for seniors in Spirit River. These new homes, designed for independent senior living, is wonderful news for this community.”

Kamal Khera, federal Minister of Seniors


“I am so pleased Spirit River seniors will soon have access to these wonderful affordable supportive living and lodge spaces in the community they love. This project is a perfect example of what we are working to achieve under our 10-year affordable housing strategy, Stronger Foundations. Strategic investments in projects like these are helping us meet the diverse housing needs of Albertans, now and in the future.”

Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing


“Alberta’s government is committed to investing in strategic projects such as this one in Spirit River that ensures access to services for seniors where they live. As valued members of our communities, it’s important to prioritize projects that provide high-quality, long-term care and also allows them to age in place.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health


“We are very excited to see construction on this project started. Our community had been identified in recent years with a high need for seniors housing that combines supportive living along with lodge housing. We are very pleased that the needs of our seniors were recognized and we look forward to our seniors aging in the comfort of their home community.”

Tammy Yaremko, mayor, Town of Spirit River


“I’m sure I speak for all of our communities when I say that we are all very excited about having this new facility in the Central Peace. This new facility will not only replace the 60-year-old Pleasant View Lodge, but it will also provide a higher level of continuing care, including dementia care, to the citizens of the Central Peace and the surrounding area. This groundbreaking event represents a much-needed increase in the level of care we provide to our seniors on top of the existing health services already available.”

Alvin Hubert, Reeve, Saddle Hills County


“A project of this magnitude has many milestones built in to measure the progress toward the ultimate goal: an age in place campus of care. New and improved housing combined with higher-level health-care services all in one facility enables residents to reside in their home community. Couples are no longer separated. Families are no longer required to split times to travel away. This ceremonial groundbreaking with golden shovels brings the excitement and anticipation to a much higher level. The Grande Spirit Foundation owes a debt of gratitude to everyone who played a role in the process that has brought us thus far.”

Judy Koktilo-Bekkerus, chairperson, Grande Spirit Foundation

This project was made possible through the Lodge Partnership Program, a joint initiative between the ministries of Health and Seniors and Housing. The program identified communities with the highest need for seniors housing that combines supportive living spaces with lodge housing.

Quick facts

  • The total development cost of the Spirit River project is estimated at $24.8 million:
    • Alberta Social Housing Corporation – $9.9 million
    • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – $9.9 million
    • Alberta Health – $4.2 million
    • G5 Municipalities (land) – $833,000
      • The G5 Municipalities provided an additional $1.3 million for furniture, fixtures and equipment.
  • Canada's National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $72-plus billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home.
  • The NHS is built on strong partnerships between the federal, provincial and territorial governments and continuous engagement with others, including municipalities, Indigenous governments and organizations, and the social and private housing sectors. This includes consultations with Canadians from all walks of life and people with experience of housing need.
  • All NHS investments delivered by the federal, provincial and territorial governments will respect the key principles of the NHS that support partnerships, people and communities.
  • Stronger Foundations: Alberta’s 10-year plan to improve and expand affordable housing reflects advice from the Affordable Housing Review Panel to redefine the government’s role, tap into community expertise, expand partnerships and simplify the system.
  • Alberta Seniors and Housing’s Capital Plan 2022 allocates $281 million over three years to provide 2,300 new and regenerated affordable housing units while supporting more than 2,000 jobs.

Associated links:

  • As Canada's authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • To find out more about NHS, visit
  • The Alberta Ministry of Seniors and Housing fosters the development of affordable housing and supports access to housing options for Albertans most in need. The ministry works with seniors, their families and caregivers, Albertans who require housing supports, and communities and other government partners. A more detailed description of the ministry and its programs and initiatives can be found at

Editor's note: This news release was also issued by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on June 3, 2022.

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