Ashbourne Residents Face Eviction as Sale Renders Facility Unviable

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Residents of The Ashbourne, an assisted-living property near the University of Alberta, were stunned to receive a three-month eviction notice, as new owners have deemed the residential operation of the 65-unit property financially unviable. The 78 residents, along with the administration, were made aware of this decision, to be effective from November 30th.

The Ashbourne, built by the Garneau United Church, was sold recently to new proprietors after experiencing significant financial dilemma. Contrary to their initial inclination to persistently run it as an assisted-living facility, the new owners reneged on this idea. Consequently, the decision to sell the property was realized as the best course, explained Chris Bruce, the board advisor.

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Contravening expectations, the Garneau United Church, despite no longer holding ownership, plans to continue its religious services at the facility for a minimum of two years.

Resident Robert Tuesday, who has spent over a year at the facility, said the announcement of closure was unexpected. The shock rippled across the residents, who are now faced with the daunting task of finding a new home. Another resident, Mildred Judge, who had believed in spending the rest of her days at The Ashbourne, articulated her struggle as an independent person to find a new living arrangement.

The Ashbourne’s board is committed to assisting residents and employees in this transition. Bruce expressed hopes of finding homes for everyone, noting the encouraging signals from other housing facilities indicating they have adequate space to accommodate the soon-to-be displaced residents.

A rendition of the property’s financial crisis began a year prior when the board, noticing a decline in occupancy rates from 90% to 65% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, endeavored to find economical solutions. Bruce recounted the arduous process involving discussions with numerous potential buyers, narrowing to a shortlist, and ultimately selling to a single offering company.

The proceeds from the sale, expected to put a dent in the financial loss accrued over the past 18 months and the long-term debt, are set to be used for pending sale-related costs. Any remaining resources will be fully dedicated towards assisting staff and residents. Details regarding the sale price and the identity of the buyer are yet to be made public.

Bruce acknowledged the heavy toll of this decision and reaffirmed the board of advisors’ unyielding effort in making the impending months of transition as smooth as possible for the residents and staff. He acknowledged that the board of volunteers, dismayed by the turn of events, clearly recognizes the challenging times ahead for the residents and their families.