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Seniors’ minister praises lodge staff for pandemic work

josephine pon
Alberta Seniors and Housing Minister Josephine Pon poses for a photograph with Pioneer Lodge staff.

Pioneer Lodge staff received a personal thank you Thursday from Alberta’s minister of seniors and housing.

Josephine Pon, who was on a tour of seniors’ lodges in southwestern Alberta, praised staff for their work during the pandemic.

“You worked so hard looking after the seniors and making sure they were safe,” Pon said.

“On behalf of Premier Jason Kenney and my colleagues, accept our appreciation for your hard work.”

Pon and Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid were at Pioneer Lodge for a brief visit, during which they shook hands and spoke with each resident and staff member.

Reid welcomed the opportunity for an in-person visit for the first time in more than 18 months due to the pandemic.

Reid and Pon toured Livingstone-Macleod to view the seniors’ facilities and discuss plans for any needed upgrades.

“To see what we can do to really honour Alberta’s seniors, making sure they have great places to live.”

Pon’s visit coincided with the third anniversary of the opening of the new Pioneer Lodge.

“We’ve been extremely grateful for this new lodge, especially during the COVID pandemic,” Willow Creek Foundation board chair Maryanne Sandberg said. “Our old lodge would not have accommodated people as well for isolation and for safety.”

“The old lodge would not have been as secure and as safe for the COVID pandemic so it’s proven its worth already, never mind being a beautiful, safe, secure facility for the future.”

It was Pon’s first visit to Pioneer Lodge since becoming seniors and housing minister.

“When I walked in, I felt so good,” Pon said.

mla roger reid
Pioneer Lodge resident Mildred Jorgenson visits with Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid.

Pon told the Pioneer Lodge residents it is her job to make sure Alberta’s seniors have safe and comfortable housing.

Pon was also in Lethbridge Wednesday to join federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen for the ground-breaking for 64 new seniors’ housing units.

The units will incorporate a mixed-income model, allowing residents to pay rent at a rate based on their individual situation.

Located across from a park, the new homes include on-site supports for the residents who should be moving in by early spring 2022.

Pon also joined Hussen on Wednesday in announcing funding for the Blackfoot Family Lodge Society in Lethbridge.

The provincial and federal governments funding available for 14 “safe and stable” housing units for Blackfoot women and their children relocating from the Kainai, Siksika and Piikani reserves.

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