BVRH October Bulletin

BVRH Monthly Bulletin                                      October 2015 

Gas Explosion incident

The investigation continues and is expected to take years to generate a report. Damage to the Bow River Seniors Lodge has been confirmed to be mostly non-structural, with very little in the way of structural concerns. Two lodge residential units are out of commission pending repairs. The repair project is being managed by the Province of Alberta, and is in the early stages of tendering.

Project occupancy rates

Bow River Lodge                  88% occupancy

Cascade House                      95% occupancy

Bow River Homes                 93% occupancy

Mount Edith House               97% occupancy

Community Housing             97% occupancy

Rent Supplement                   100% subscription 

Temporary Flood relief housing

BVRH continues to assist the Government of Alberta with their efforts to house local victims of the southern flooding. This program is winding down; few tenants remain in place.

Bow River Lodge Redevelopment “This is Home


Phase 1:

Bi-weekly owner meetings with the architect and contractor on-site along with ISL who represents the province and BVRH continue. Excavation and pouring of foundation footings continues, while rebar and formwork follows as the cement sets. Some backfilling is underway. Plumbers are onsite and beginning the rough in. Meanwhile the stop work order for excavation has been lifted.

The explosion event will naturally affect the schedule, however it remains unclear as to how much so. The project coordinator is hopeful that APM can make up most of the delay.

Phase 2:

Substantial planning will begin later this year; however construction on this phase cannot start until Phase 1 is complete and fully operational. At this point in time we anticipate completion of Phase 2 in late 2018.


Phase 1:

The design includes 63 new residential lodge units, replacing 43 aging units and giving us 20 more, maximizing the available space in anticipation of the looming needs of our aging population in the region. This design means that all of our seniors will be housed in safe, new and fully functional spaces instead of some that are retro-fitted, ensuring more effective and efficient accommodation along with much improved ability to increase care services in the future.   Aside from the better facility afforded by this design it is important to also highlight the creation of a valuable and substantial piece of property to be used to meet regional needs in the future. The area currently taken up by the old parts of the original lodge will be used to bring higher levels of supportive living to the region for true aging in place in Phase 2.

Phase 2:

This facility will be purposely designed to meet the needs of designated supportive living level 4 operations, including enhanced safety and care-provision considerations. At this point only a design concept has been developed. Our ASLI grant was awarded to us based on development of 60 SL4/D units; AHS has provided design guidelines that the facility must consider so as to secure a DSL agreement.

Selection of an Architecture/Prime Consultant contractor will occur late 2015 or early 2016.


Phase 1:

Alberta Seniors-Housing representatives remain supportive of the 80/20 sharing model, whereby the Province will pay 100% of the project costs and BVRH will pay our 20% over time. The current total project cost estimate is $14.0 million.

Phase 2:

The current capital cost estimate is $18.5 million. We have received an unconfirmed commitment of a $6 million ASLI grant. This funding, plus another $1.5 million in grants we hope to receive, makes the BVRH share $11 million; please note that these are very early estimates. We plan to fund our share through a combination of fundraising and financing; we are eager to learn about the status of the proposed lending program given the change in government. A senior Alberta Seniors representative has suggested that a model similar to the Phase 1 funding plan is possible.

It is expected that this development will improve our operating model to the point that we are able to achieve economies of scale that will eliminate the need to requisition for operating costs at Bow River Lodge in the future, although we may have to take on financing related to the provision of staff accommodation.


Phase 1:

Our communications strategy is well underway. Site signage will be in place upon receiving the necessary permitting.

Phase 2:

Planning for the communications plan for phase 2 will be incorporated into our overall communications strategy.


About Bow Valley Regional Housing

Bow Valley Regional Housing (BVRH) is a Housing Management Body (HMB) for the Government of Alberta. The Provincial Government created HMBs to serve as operators and administrators of provincially-owned social housing facilities. The Province owns a large portfolio of these facilities through the Alberta Social Housing Corporation (ASHC), serving many needy and vulnerable Albertans. Each HMB is self-governing under the Alberta Housing Act, managing the ASHC assets in a particular region. Each region is comprised of multiple municipalities, improvement districts, etc. HMBs may operate other kinds of housing and may own buildings that house accommodation programs.

Every municipality in Alberta is a contributing member of their regional HMB. They are required to have at least one appointee on the governing board, which is responsible for acting in the best interests of the HMB. The board must consider the needs of each contributing municipality in its governance of the HMB.

HMB operations are funded through various means. Tenants pay rent and/or lodge fees, however since these are set at affordable rates the revenues usually do not cover the costs of operations. Seniors Lodge deficits are funded through municipal ratepayer requisitions and provincial grants. Social Housing deficits (including independent seniors housing and community housing) are funded by Alberta Municipal Affairs (Housing).

As the HMB for the Bow Valley region we are responsible for social housing and affordable supportive living accommodation for seniors throughout Kananaskis Country, the Bow Corridor, the MD of Bighorn and all of Banff National Park, an area covering approximately 13,500 square kilometres. This region has two towns and seven hamlets containing a total of about 25,000 people. Our five contributing municipalities are: Kananaskis ID, MD of Bighorn, Town of Canmore, Town of Banff and Banff National Park ID9. The people of the region are able to access all of the programs we offer, subject to eligibility requirements.


The BVRH Mission Statement

Bow Valley Regional Housing is committed to providing appropriate housing services to the Bow Valley region seniors and residents of modest means who struggle to secure such accommodations. 

We manage:

seniors’ lodges in Canmore and Banff that currently house up to 85 residents
seniors’ independent housing buildings in Canmore and Banff that have 62 one-bedroom apartments
58 family housing residences in Canmore
Interim relief housing for 3 households displaced by the June floods
the Rent Supplement Program in the region that currently provides financial assistance to about 40 Bow Valley households
All told we currently house, or help to house over 400 residents of the Bow Valley in 8 permanent and 1 interim housing projects encompassing 41 separate buildings between 4 separate communities.  

We are a self-governing body. We partner with two provincial ministries and five municipal governments, along with numerous local and community agencies to provide and promote safe and appropriate housing to our region.


The BVRH Vision Statement

In ensuring the residents of the Bow Valley region have access to appropriate housing options we envision a collaborative approach whereby all local and provincial housing stakeholders work together to respond to community trends and housing needs in a responsible and timely fashion.

We will remain committed to staying informed of relevant and valid community trends and housing needs.

We will remain committed to securing funding to develop infrastructure that meets the identified needs in social housing.

We will remain committed to innovation, service excellence, best practices, and to being an employer of choice in the Bow Valley region.

BVRH has approximately 36 employees based in either Bow River Lodge in Canmore or Cascade House in Banff. Our Administration and Maintenance Teams are based in Canmore but take care of all of our operations. As well, we have Housekeeping and Food Service Teams plus a Recreation Coordinator at our lodge in Canmore. Our Cascade House Team serves the residents of our lodge in Banff.


BVRH Values

Service: client focus, empathy, caring, commitment to quality and a guiding philosophy of serving our clients in their homes.

Integrity and accountability: high ethics, professionalism, transparency, accountability and inclusiveness.

Efficacy: sustainability, innovation, versatility, collaboration, communication, vision and resourcefulness.