Opinion Editorial

Government needs to get behind great ideas

Greg Vandermeulen

Perhaps it was the president of Bridge Road Development, Ken Penner, who said it best. "People are going to be looking at Altona and saying 'wow, I wish we had that," he said during the official signing with his development company and Ebenezer Home.

As the group looks toward the imminent construction of the first phase, featuring 30 to 40 seniors suites, it is clear this will be a great addition to the community.

Altona has a mix of visions competing at any one time. The advocates for senior housing have ensured Altona is a place people want to spend their retirement years.

Sports advocates have managed to ensure Altona boasts some of the finest facilities around, and despite already being in better shape than many communities, we still have people determined to improve it.

Our business community also takes their role seriously, and we still see growth in Altona.

In some cases various levels of government have reached into the public purse to help out.

Altona's park improvements received some funding, as did some other infrastructure projects.

Altona's 24/7 supervised living project was funded for three years by people of the community.

It was a huge success and recognized as a plan that actually saves the government money.

Because it diverts people from the care home, where the cost per bed is far more to the system, it frees up care home and hospital spaces for those who really need them.

To their credit, the NDP did see just how valuable the project is, and they did step in to fund it.

Once again it's time for governments to dig into their pockets.

Although costs are basically unknown at this time, the estimate of $8 million was thrown out for the first phase.

Once the building's up, and filled with tenants, it should pay for itself.

It will also be a benefit to the region, and by offering seniors more services, could again delay their trip to the care home or hospital.

Both the provincial and federal governments should take a good look at this plan, and what is happening in Altona.

Not only are these projects worthy of funding, but they could be used as models for what needs to be done in other communities.

Members of the community that have already devoted countless hours to this project deserve our admiration.