Who thinks to build a forever home for someone else – let alone for 170 “someone elses”?
But that’s what a small and determined group of volunteers ultimately created for the seniors of Beaumont so they could stay, enjoy, and thrive in the community.
The concept for the +55 complex known as Place Beausejour began because of an absence. There were no alternative housing opportunities for seniors, who were no longer in their own homes, to remain living independently in Beaumont.
Led by such strong visionaries as Ella Mortemore and Rollie Belland, a group of like-minded residents formed the non-profit Beaumont Aging In Place Society (BAIP Society) in the mid-1990’s.
The vision of an apartment complex for able, independent seniors, as well as those needing care, started to become a reality with the acquisition of 4.1 acres of land along 52 Avenue in Beaumont’s Centre-Ville area. The small, BAIP steering committee planned, researched, fund-raised, advocated and persuaded any and all willing to be involved. Ultimately, a 4-phase project was designed, starting with the ground breaking for the first phase apartments and building amenities in December of 1999.
Builder Chandos Construction Ltd had phase 1, with 34 life-lease apartments, ready for occupancy by early 2001. As well as a substantial savings on the Belland land purchase, the project received strong financial support from Beaumont town council. Service clubs such as the Beaumont Lions Club made a significant donation to the project, along with contributions from the Beaumont Seniors’ Club and Beaumont Knights of Columbus.
The grand opening was celebrated June 16, 2001. Marketing manager Adelle Madu reported 16 apartments were already spoken for.
Then mayor Ken Kobly stated at the ribbon cutting ceremony, “This is a great addition to Beaumont. It is fitting that this is opening in the International Year of the Volunteer to demonstrate what a group of committed volunteers can accomplish.”
BAIP board chairman at the time, Chris Calvert, said the building “marked more than five years of dedicated effort.”
For her significant volunteer efforts, Ms Mortemore was awarded a 2005 Stars of the Millennium Volunteer Award from the Wild Rose Foundation and also an Alberta Centennial medal (awarded to recipients for significant contributions to their fellow citizens, their community and to Alberta).
From among Place Beausejour residents arriving earliest after the building opened in Feb of 2001, six still reside in the complex. The facility now includes a total of 97 independent-living apartments and Chateau Vitaline, a Covenant Care centre for those needing assisted living care.
Several BAIP board members have lived in Place Beausejour over the years, including Madeleine Royer, secretary of the very first volunteer board.
June 16, 2021 is the date to celebrate a big dream, fueled by dedication, commitment and vision. Place Beausejour is officially 20 years young.
~submitted by Barb W.
Pictured below are the original residents from opening year 2001 – Ed and Raymonde, Ina. Hector and Irene.