BUCKINGHAM HOUSE: SENIOR CITIZENS' RESIDENCE
by Mabel Dumont
Early in 1973 some very interested citizens of Elk Point had a dream, as they thought at the time, of a housing project for Elk Point senior citizens. They set to work surveying the town for the need of such a structure and came up with a long list of citizens who would be very willing to live in, and actually needed, such a facility. This idea was taken to the town council. Alberta Housing Corporation then did a survey. In November 1973 Alberta Housing approved the construction of such a project. In December 1973 their dream became a reality. The town council appointed a committee to meet with Alberta Housing Corporation and start the ball rolling. The committee included Sid Holthe, Paul Stepa, Phil Sheplawy, Mary Bochon and Mabel Dumont. Many times we met with the council and members of Alberta Housing and the architects to decide on plans. In July 1974 the plans were approved by our town council and Alberta Housing and tenders were advertised. After many ups and downs the job was finally tendered.
In January, 1976, Ed Pankiw joined our committee as representative of the town; Paul Stepa had resigned from the town council. Ed took over the chair; Mabel Dumont became secretary. Many, many meetings ensued with Alberta Housing officials, and with the architects, Wallbridge and Imne. Our committee had many things to learn: responsibilities of landlord, tenants, administration; financial regulations; rules for selection of tenants by the point system, and in general our duties as a management board. Buckingham House was the name we selected for this structure, a place, a house, where our senior citizens could reside as one happy family. Our committee became the 'Buckingham House Management Board'. Ed Pankiw was hired as tenants' relations manager; Joe Thir was to be maintenance man, but after three months his position was taken by Paul Musijowski. The first tenants moved in on June 1, 1976. Many donations of furniture, equipment, pictures, etc. were received from individuals and organizations. The landscaping is very picturesque; native trees have been left in the front on one side of the main door. On the other side are two huge rocks which were moved when the foundation was being done. The flower gardens under the window of each suite add to its attractiveness. The official opening was held on October 29, 1976. The following is a copy of the program for that afternoon:
SENIOR CITIZENS RESIDENCE
ELK POINT, ALBERTA.
OFFICIAL OPENING, OCTOBER 29, 1976.
Introduction of Platform Guests:
Mistress of Ceremonies:
(Mrs.) Mabel Dumont, Member, Elk Point Management Board.
Federal Government Representative
Hon. W.J. Yurko, Minister of Housing & Public Works
Mr. A.I. "Mick" Fluker, M.L.A. Constituency of St. Paul
His Worship, Mayor Habiak, Town of Elk Point
Mr. Ed Pankiw, Chairman, Elk Point Management Board
Buckingham House, officially opened October 29, 1976
Rev. Allen Miller, United Church of Canada, Elk Point.
Mr. John Mick, Manager, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Mr. Dave Cassian, Project Manager, Alberta Housing Corporation.
Grace Franks, Resident, Buckingham House.
Miss Mary Imne, Architectural Firm of Wallbridge and Imne
Mr. Lawrence Genereux, representing Genereux Worshop, Ltd., Bonnyville
Chairman's Opening Remarks -Mabel Dumont
0' Canada -Elizabeth Didow's Girls Choir
Greetings on behalf of:
Provincial Government - Hon. W.J. Yurko
Constituency of St. Paul - Mr. Mick Fluker
Town of Elk Point - Mayor Habiak
Elk Point Management Board - Ed Pankiw
Central Mortgage & Housing Corporation - Mr. John Mick
Alberta Housing Corporation - Mr. Dave Kassian
Invocation of Elk Point Lodge - Rev. Miller
Hymn Girls Choir
Official unveiling of ceremonial plaque - Hon. W.J. Yurko and Mr. Mick Fluker
Reply on behalf of the residents of Elk Point Senior Citizens - Grace Franks
Chairman's Closing Remarks - Mabel Dumont
Following the official ceremonies guests are invited to tour the residence and stay for refreshments.
The residents of Buckingham House welcome you to the official opening of their home: Ada Scott, Wilma & Trig Kjenner, Zillah Campbell, Florence & Alex Lindquist, Evva Kjenner, Ethel Martin, Emily Appleton, Grace Franks, Elizabeth Shultz, William Puha, Frank Robinson , Myrtle Butner, Edward Heffernan, Eugenie Evtushevski, John Nichols, Violet Wagner, Hildur Johnson.
A sincere thank you is extended to the numerous individuals and organizations of the Elk Point district for their financial, material and moral support to the operation of th home.
The 20 unit residence is an Alberta Housing Corporatio Project managed by the Elk Point Management Board. I comprises 16 bachelor and 4 one- bedroom units and features a main lounge, laundry facilities, games room and hobby room.
Total Cost of the Residence was $429,691.
Architectural design was created by Wallbridge & Imne, Architects, Edmonton.
The General Contractor was Genereux Workshop (Bonnyville) Ltd.
Central Mortgage & Housing Corporation provided a loan the amount of $377,675.
A.H.C. Project Manager is Dave Kassian
A.H.C. Property Administration Liasison is Ron Herlick
A.H.C. Property Inspector is Hank Mulder
As of date, April 1, our units are all taken. The tenants all appear, as we had hoped, as one happy family. Each evening they gather in the lounge, some to just sit and talk, either together or with visitors; others to knit, embroider, or do any handi-work of their interest. Others are in the 'Games Room’ playing croquinole, cards, Scrabble or what have you. Just to walk in on this scene is an experience everyone should have. As one of our teenagers remarked, "this is growing old gracefully and happily." As a matter of interest many of our teenagers go to visit them, to play cards or games, or just to sit and visit. What a lovely way to be able to spend those 'golden years' of one's life. Thanks must surely go to the town of Elk Point, Alberta Housing and our government for providing all of us with this facility, 'Buckingham House', most frequent called by the residents 'Buckingham Palace'