West Country Hearth was proudly built by West Sturgeon Aging in Place Foundation. West Sturgeon Aging in Place Foundation is an organization of over 270 members. Our board is made up of representatives from West Sturgeon which includes the communities of Alcomdale, Calahoo, Mearns, Riviere Qui Barre and Villeneuve.
For many years our seniors had to relocate to facilities in communities far from their homes. We felt that we were not complete without the presence of the very people who had built our communities. In the fall of 2001, an organizational meeting was held and our board was formed.
We became registered under the Alberta Societies Act as West Sturgeon Aging in Place Foundation in 2002. We also received our charitable organization status from Canada Revenue Agency that year. The board spent three years looking at different locations and designing a building that would suit the needs of our communities.
During that time, our communities were busy fundraising and putting together a business plan that would be accepted for funding from both the federal and provincial governments. People donated money and time because they believed it could happen. We were most fortunate that two musical productions, “Mary’s Veil’ and “Lost Apostle” written by Sandra Brenneis and performed by St. Peter’s Villeneuve Choir raised over 300 thousand dollars for our project. This provided us with the seed money to qualify for government grants.
We commenced construction in 2005. During construction we received over four million dollars in grants, raised over one million locally and received over one million dollars in investments. We have been supported by local businesses, corporate sponsorship, various fundraisers and amazing volunteerism. Literally thousands of hours were donated during construction of the building. Volunteers participated significantly constructing sidewalks, landscaping the grounds and park, building the fireplace, insulating, fencing, picking rocks and the list goes on.
Our building was completed in 2007 and opened in May of that year. Four wings join in the center of the building, which boasts a magnificent fireplace. This fireplace is made of fieldstone that local people picked and brought to the site. Lorne and Patty Klak generously donated their time and talent to build this amazing fireplace. You only need to walk in to the building to sense the warmth of it and understand why it is named “West Country Hearth” We also built a dementia unit, called Harmony Haven.
In 2012, the board responded to the need for more dementia units. We added a spacious 13 bed addition which is named Harmony Haven 2. With community volunteerism, excellent staff and fundraising projects, we were open on time and on budget in the summer of 2013.
Of the 80 units we have 5 two bedrooms, 28 one bedroom, 19 studios, 2 mini studios, and 26 dementia suites. The rooms are spacious and boast large windows to view the beautiful pastoral location of our building. Now that we are open, our dream has become a reality.
We have grown considerably over the years with the mindset that strong organizations must be built on a solid foundation.