BY RYAN WELLICOME
Regional officials, community members and even a celebrity or two attended a sod turning ceremony held by Habitat for Humanity today in the Shepherd Heights subdivision of Lacombe.
The ceremony marked the start of the organization’s newest housing project, funded, in part, by the City of Lacombe.
The project will build four new homes in Shepherd Heights and will begin construction within the next few weeks.
“We are very, very proud to award (Habitat for Humanity) with $480,000 for this project, being their second project in Lacombe, and supplying homes for four more families,” said Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie.
“They do great, great things for people all across the country and I couldn’t be happier to have them right here in Lacombe,” he said.
The City’s relationship with the organization is one that Christie wishes to continue for years to come.
“I want my granddaughter to be turning sod for Habitat for Humanity.”
Brian Brake, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Red Deer Region, was excited to be working with the City once again.
“This is our key project now and a little while ago we went back to see the City of Lacombe to offer our services for another build here, to help them with the housing strategy they have developed, and we were pleasantly surprised when they welcomed us back,” he said.
The project is the organization’s second undertaking in Lacombe, with the first being a similar project that gave four families new homes in the Mackenzie Ranch subdivision earlier this summer.
Brake expressed that the funds the City and the project’s other donors have put forward are vital.
“It’s everything. When we finish a build, we don’t get paid by anybody for the building. (We) can’t afford to carry debt as a not-for-profit society so the builds have got to be covered.”
Professional women’s ice hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser was also on hand.
“I think the build here in Lacombe is beautiful. The homes are going to be very well done and for any family coming in, it’s going to be a very nice place to live,” she said.
Wickenheiser was one of two celebrity attendees at the event, the other being former Calgary Flames trainer and Hockey Hall of Famer Jim ‘Bearcat’ Murray.
“Habitat is a tremendous organization. They give people a leg up in life who might not otherwise have an opportunity to own their own home or get started,” said Wickenheiser. “Sometimes all you need is just a chance.”