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Bell leaving post in good hands

By October 19, 2022No Comments
Joy Bell, administrator of Pioneer Lodge and House, pictured giving a presentation in March at a Rotary Club of Lloydminster lunch, is retiring in a few weeks. Meridian Source File Photo

 

Joy (Joyce) Bell will be leaving senior residents at Pioneer Lodge and House in good hands when her last day as facility administrator rolls around soon.

“It’s still a little up in the air, right now I’m thinking toward the end of November,” said Bell.

She actually handed in her resignation in March to leave at the end of June, however, as Bell told the Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society last Tuesday, opportunity knocked to leave the organization in a strengthened position.

Bell says the board of Lloydminster Region Housing Group will now oversee all social housing in the Lloydminster Alberta region, including the Pioneer facilities.

“For years, Pioneer has operated as a division of Lloyd Region Housing Group. Now we’re going underneath their board,” she explained.

The plan for one board flowed from discussions Bell had with Lloydminster Housing Group CAO Deanna Stang-Livingston.

Bell says the advantage of being under one board it is gives Lloyd a louder voice to deal with the provinces when it comes to social housing.

“Whether that be a rent subsidy program or right down to a designated supported living space, we’re now talking with numbers,” she said.

“It gives us a stronger foundation to be heard from.”

Michael Diachuk is the current board chair of the Housing Group that has a new strategic plan and a mission to collaboratively increase access to safe, sustainable and inclusive housing.

Interviews are now in progress to hire a new CEO for the Housing Group with Bell’s last day of work dependent on when the new executive comes on board, and if a transition period is required.

Bell notes this is an ideal time for her to retire, and for the organization.

“It’s time for somebody with a new vision and refreshed eye to look at this and work with the new board and the new strategic plan and move all the social housing needs forward,” she said.

“This joining of the two boards allows us to expand our administration.”

The Housing Group is now headhunting for a controller and could  also hire an operations manager.

“These positions are going to allow that CEO to really drive the future plans forward to be able to meet with ministers and to have the time to develop the plans, so we can meet the needs of our citizens,” said Bell.

She’s been at the helm of Pioneer for more than 16 years and says it has easily been the most fulfilling job in her life with constant challenges to overcome.

“When I first joined Pioneer, it was the issue of not having enough units so that we could meet the needs of our citizens of the municipalities that oversee Pioneer,” she said.

That led to the first expansion at Pioneer Lodge.

Bell says they then ended up seeing seniors with designated support living needs being shipped out of our community. 

“The board wanted that to stop,” she said. 

That led to the addition of Pioneer House with recent plans for future expansion of the Lodge recently announced.

Bell says the last challenge continues to be COVID.

As for her retirement plans, Bell says aside from some golf and a couple of warm vacations, she won’t be too far away.

“There’s definitely some projects here I feel I can still add to,” she said.

“The seniors in our area will always be one of my passions.”