With renovations underway for Airdrie's Abrio Place, replacing the Big Hill Lodge is now the top priority of the Rocky View Foundation.

Rocky View Foundation chair Susan Flowers says the foundation was successful in its application for funding through the new Affordable Housing Partnership Program, which allowed them to complete the renovations at Abrio Place. Flowers says they anticipate people will be able to call it home sometime in July.

"We're really excited to finish the renovation project over in Airdrie and close to 100 people will be living there," she says. "They've been waiting, and they're anxious to move in."

In hopes of more applications being accepted through the partnership program, Flowers says the Cochrane application is now well underway.

"It's in our hands now to get lots of work done. The town has been trying to do everything they can to make the process go smoothly."

Aiding the advancement of senior housing projects is an improved funding process.

"They've streamlined the process where the CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) and the provincial government are working together using the same application form and doing the planning together. They have a good plan in place, so hopefully, it all goes smoothly."

The current Big Hill Lodge building is safe and sound and has a dedicated team led by manager Sandra Robin that truly makes it a comfortable home for its residents. But the building is showing its age and needs to be replaced.

Local MLA Peter Guthrie arranged for Jeremy Nixon, minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services, to visit the lodge on Jan. 23. The fact-finding visit left local officials optimistic about the lodge's replacement.