Bashaw council fixes error, paves way for lodge to open

The devil is in the detail and a failure by previous Bashaw administration or council to give Bashaw Valley Lodge a tax break almost caused it not to open.

“We’re licensed and ready to launch,” James Carpenter, president of Bashaw Valley Lodge told council during its regular meeting Aug. 18.

Bashaw Valley Lodge founding partners Dr. Tony Mucciarone and James Carpenter said a previous council promised them they wouldn’t have to pay taxes until they opened. Because of this promise, they moved ahead with renovating the lodge almost three years ago but added that being billed taxes for an empty building while renovating could prevent the new facility from opening.

“It’s someone else’s mistake and now it’s our problem,” said Carpenter. “Had a motion been passed we would not have this problem.

“Our deal was based on a motion that didn’t get passed. Part of the commitment we got from council verbally is that we would work together and not pay taxes until we are up and operational. Please do whatever you can to help us. We had to have council on our side to get this facility. We are humbly asking with hat in hand, would you guys work with us this year? That’s all we’re asking.

Carpenter also told council they saved the community up to  $400,000 in demolition costs and saved a “beautiful” building.

“That (building) could be a vacant lot right now and that is what it’s destined for,” he added.
Coun. Rosella Peterman said a motion wasn’t passed, adding, “We can’t take responsibility if we weren’t on council.”

She added that they are governed by the Municipal Government Act, which dictates that they can’t give tax abatements for previous year’s taxes.

Coun. Bryan Gust said he was on council at the time.

“I was there four years ago. My memory is that you did come to the town for help and we said that we would work with you.”

But Gust said administration never brought any specifics to council regarding tax relief.

“I don’t recall it was ever brought to us. As a council you can’t make a motion for something we don’t know.”

After discussing the issue in-camera Aug. 18, council unanimously voted in favour of giving Bashaw Valley Lodge a tax abatement by reducing 2016 taxes to the 2014 levy amount and waive the current penalty, on the condition that the payment made in full of the revised tax amount.

“By approving the tax abatement, they have helped us to focus on finishing our last minute details in the renovation and bring in residents,” said Lee-Anne Akister, speaking on behalf of Bashaw Valley Lodge on Aug. 22.

“This lodge will have created a dozen jobs in town, as well as bringing in new residents.
Bashaw has such a strong sense of community and we believe the lodge is a perfect fit as our focus is providing community geared recreation for our residents as well.”

Bashaw Valley Lodge has room for 33 residents. It has seven staff including a host live-in couple.

“We are geared towards those who are perhaps retired and ready to let go of some of the daily tasks involved with home ownership,” said Akister. “We take care of all of the cooking, cleaning, and maintenance. This opens our residents up to enjoying more family and hobby time.  Our goal is to create a community within our facility, and make it a vital part of the Bashaw community. We want our residents to be active and fulfilled.”

Bashaw Valley Lodge is an adult apartment focused on community and family aimed at enhancing residents’ independent and thriving living. It will be staffed 24 hours a day for emergencies and hosting services.

Socializing is an important aspect of the lodge, said Dr. Tony Mucciarone. He said family are often too busy to visit or take the elderly places and they become shut-in, which can lead to depression.

The lodge has new flooring, paint and furniture as well as updated exterior and landscaping.

The lodge will provide three home-cooked meals and snacks, social and recreational activities, scheduled local transportation, access to homecare and personal care and more.

The facility promotes family and will have a special grandchildren day with activities tailored for residents and children.

Rental suites will be available for family or they can camp on the property. The lodge has a renovated dining room with self-serve coffee, bar, large TV and two lounging areas so residents can socialize. The inner courtyard has gardens and there are other common areas such as a library, computer café, recreation room and large yard space.

Bashaw nudges County of Camrose to replace rescue unit

Bashaw council passed a motion to encourage the County of Camrose to replace the fire department’s aging Rescue unit.

Chief Administrative Officer Theresa Fuller told council, during its regular meeting Aug. 18, that once a suitable replacement is found the town will have a better idea of the cost.

The fire department has raised about $60,300 so far.

CAO Fuller told council the town can’t afford a new top of the line unit nor do they have the facility that could house.

“So we are limited there.”

Coun. Lynn Schultz said the town should look at units priced from $100,000 to $125,000 or more.

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