Proposed assisted living project named Dufferin Villa

Al Braun, left, and Vern Crandell of the Portage la Prairie Assisted Living Corporation, sign a land sale and development agreement with Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris at city hall on May 28. Mickey Dumont/Citizen photo.

Mickey Dumont

The Portage Citizen — In 10 years from now, saying you or your parents are moving to Dufferin Villa will be as synonymous as saying today the move is to the Lodge or the Manor.

Last night the Portage Assisted Living Corporation (PALC) revealed to city council its proposed assisted living facility to be built on Dufferin Ave. adjacent to Portage Clinic will be called Dufferin Villa.

Dufferin Ave. was named after Lord Dufferin, Governor General of Canada from 1872 to 1878. He has the distinction of being the first Governor General to visit the province. A statue of Dufferin sits outside the Legislature in Winnipeg and now a part of Manitoba history will be imprinted in bricks and mortar in a very special project here.

Dufferin Villa is the first assisted living project of its kind in Portage la Prairie.

The proposed $15 million 53 unit project is now accepting “expression of interest” applications from those who want to move in when the project opens and from those thinking ahead. There will be 36 one bedroom units measuring 652 square feet and 17 two bedrooms at 927 square feet. The units will feature in-suite laundry, kitchen, privately controlled heating and air conditioning.

Dufferin Villa will offer its residents a full package of support services including lunch and dinner in the large dining room, housekeeping, building maintenance, social/recreational activities and services intended to support independent and healthy living.

Life leases will be at $49,000 for a one bedroom and $69,000 for a two bedroom. Rent at Dufferin Villas will be $1,800 per month for a one-bedroom and $2,200 for a two bedroom.

Dufferin Villa one bedroom

Dufferin Villa one bedroom

Dufferin Villa two bedroom

Dufferin Villa two bedroom

“We’ve had some discussions with the province already,” says not-for-profit PALC Chair Allan Braun said following the city council meeting. “The provincial government has signed a letter of understanding regarding funding coming to the province. When the province gets that funding, they will then have a call for proposals and we want to have ours rank as high as we can,” he said.

The corporation is hoping it will attract a large number of expression of interest applicants to gain provincial attention of its provincial funding proposal. “When we go for our proposal to the province, they will want to know what is the interest level in your community for a project like this? What are the contributions your community is making towards this project?

“We all know there is interest and need, but that has to be substantiated with some factual information. The more interest we can show, the higher our proposal will rank.”

When PALC and the city agreed to a location, the community recognized the opportunity to have its first assisted living complex and the response was instantaneous.

“At that point, we started getting calls from those not just interested, but also from those wanting to move in,” said Vern Crandell who along with Braun is one of the key planners.

36 names are now on the list. The project is planned to easily add a second phase of similar size and organizers hint present interest will propel plans for the addition forward in just a few short years.

“The life lease portion of it will probably provide us with, in the neighbourhood of $2.5 to $3 million equity,” Braun said. “The provincial funding we’re looking for, just rough numbers, will be about $50,000 per door from them. That would not be a loan. That would be a contribution and become an equity portion. Now we have significant equity. And our fundraising is in addition to that. When we have those amounts of equity, we can move over to a financial institution and begin to talk to them about lending us a significant portion.”

PALC is building a fundraising campaign with guidance from a professional fundraiser.

Braun stated the fundraising effort will be ambitious and headed by a former Portager.

PALC member Ruth Brownridge added the corporation is working now to get the application into as many community hands as possible.”

“We are hoping people will fill it in and mail it back just to let us know how much interest there is. It is very important to this project.”

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