Spruce Grove board shows support for senior housing, Meridian Foundation project

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Spruce Grove is strengthening its commitment to senior housing.

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Spruce Grove council recently set aside funds for a new Meridian Housing reserve. A motion was brought forward for a capital contribution of $ 906,900, allocated from the 2021 municipal surplus and transferred to a restricted internal reserve for contribution to the Meridian Housing Foundation to fund the construction of a 102 lodge. units.

Council discussed and unanimously adopted the motion at a regular council meeting on December 13.

During recent 2022-2024 Corporate Plan deliberations, $ 2.14 million of the 2021 annual surplus was approved to be allocated to fund one-time business cases in 2022. Several of these unique business cases included costs covering the three-year window to 2023 and 2024. These projects were the customer service strategy, the review of by-laws and policies, and the municipal development plan.

At that time, the council also proposed that $ 906,900 be transferred to the Meridian Housing Foundation on behalf of the City of a capital contribution of $ 3 million from the member municipalities of the Tri-Region, as requested. by the Meridian Housing Foundation. The joint capital contribution from Stony Plain ($ 409,800), Spruce Grove ($ 906,900) and Parkland County ($ 1,683,300) will help finance the construction of the lodge.

The pavilion is expected to cost a total of $ 37.9 million.

“Board members will recall that we recently received a presentation from the Meridian Housing Foundation, and at that time they indicated the need to develop an investment fund for the construction of the Spruce Grove Lodge,” said Dean Screpnek, City Manager. “The equity fund is targeting approximately $ 9 million over a three-year period.”

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The Meridian Housing Foundation put forward the idea of ​​a capital requisition, where it would requisition the three member municipalities for an amount of $ 3 million in each of those three years, to create the equity fund of 9 millions of dollars.

“What we are proposing here tonight is the creation of a dedicated Meridian housing reserve that we would see in the first year of this three-year contribution, be funded by higher surpluses than expected, mainly due to Covid and other things (mentioned in a financial analysis) “, explained Screpnek.” This represents an opportunity for the board to think about how they could offer their share of this investment fund, as we continue to work in close collaboration with the Meridian Housing Foundation. ”

Screpnek stressed that this action does not necessarily indicate a formal commitment, as the money put in the reserves is often intended for a future decision.

“What it does is just give the board additional options on how it might come up with its one-year contribution to this three-year equity fund,” he said.

During discussions, Councilor Dave Oldham asked for clarification and confirmation that this year’s contribution could potentially replace a requisition, not just a placeholder for a requisition. The Council will formalize this decision, expected in early 2022.

Councilor Stuart Houston has indicated his support for the idea of ​​earmarking funds for the pavilion project in Spruce Grove.

“This signals to the Meridian Housing Foundation that we are supporting the development of senior housing,” said Houston, asking if partner municipalities, Stony Plain and Parkland County, were considering similar funds, adding that with funds from the surplus, the city will not need to requisition from residential taxpayers this year.

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Screpnek said he could not confirm, but noted that there had been discussions among member municipalities on innovative and creative ways to review the equity fund requirement for the Spruce Grove Lodge.

Mayor Jeff Acker declared his support for the motion and stressed the importance of allocating the funds, saying it was a positive step forward.

“I think it’s important that we had that discussion when they introduced us. The Council supports senior housing and the work of the Meridian Foundation, ”said Acker. “I think that at least provides us with the starting point of what the Spruce Grove engagement will need to be as we move forward.”

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