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Lodge expansion comes together

The Pembina Lodge expansion is quickly becoming a reality, thanks to 30 modular units being lifted into place early last week. By the time the Westlock Foundation held its cube installation ceremony on Tuesday, Nov.
A crane lowers one of the Pembina Lodge housing modules into place. The expansion is on track and on budget.
A crane lowers one of the Pembina Lodge housing modules into place. The expansion is on track and on budget.

The Pembina Lodge expansion is quickly becoming a reality, thanks to 30 modular units being lifted into place early last week.

By the time the Westlock Foundation held its cube installation ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 8, most of the units had already been lifted into place — a process that was expected to take seven to 10 days.

“It’s going to be done here either today or tomorrow, so a little bit quicker than we anticipated which is great news,” said Dave Salpeter, director of real estate with Integrated Management and Realty, the company responsible for this portion of the project.

Although the cube installation is taking form faster than expected, Westlock Foundation board chair David Truckey said the project is on schedule and on budget.

“This is an exciting day when you consider it was only a few months ago we were here and we were given a shovel and told we were all going to dig into the ground,” said Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Ken Kowalski. “This (has been) great, great viewing over the last couple of months.”

The groundbreaking ceremony kicking off the construction was held in June but the project encountered some bad weather in July and crews weren’t able to start on-site work until August. Despite this hiccup, the project is on track and Westlock Foundation CEO Marilyn Lannon said completion can’t come soon enough.

“Over the years, the waiting list for our facilities here in Westlock has grown by leaps and bounds,” she said, adding the waiting list now has close to 200 names on it.

“These figures are only going to grow, so I’m very proud that the foundation board and all of the municipalities involved have been helping us so much in meeting the demands of the area.”

When the project is complete, it will have 68 units total — 60 affordable-living units and eight life-leases.

“Our seniors in Westlock and in the area deserve the best in their housing and that’s our mission for the future is to provide each and every one of you with that,” Lannon said.

The $14-million expansion is funded through various avenues: the Westlock Foundation contributed funds from its own reserves, with $5.4 million coming from a provincial grant, $7.6 being borrowed through Westlock County and the remainder being borrowed from Servus Credit Union, said Truckey.

Once the cubes are in place, the final work until the April completion date will include both interior and exterior work. The exterior work will take place when the weather warms up in the spring and will include stuccoing the exterior as well as completing landscaping, said Salpeter.

“We’re looking forward to that day,” he said. “We’ve enjoyed being part of this and we look forward to the completion.”

The project is expected to be completed in April.