Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut October 23, 2017 - 8:00 am

Western Nunavut hamlet seeks support for elder care centre

Kugluktuk needs $4 million to move ahead on $21.4-million project

JANE GEORGE
Here's an artist's rendering of how the long-term care facility would look like from above. (HANDOUT PHOTO)
Here's an artist's rendering of how the long-term care facility would look like from above. (HANDOUT PHOTO)
Here's an alternate view of what the proposed long-term care centre in Kugluktuk would look like. (HANDOUT PHOTO)
Here's an alternate view of what the proposed long-term care centre in Kugluktuk would look like. (HANDOUT PHOTO)

CAMBRIDGE BAY—The western Nunavut hamlet of Kugluktuk has a big plan to meet the needs of its community of roughly 1,500 people: a 24-bed long-term continuing care centre that would take in elders who require extended care or who suffer from dementia.

But the project promoters need to pin down $4 million by the end of this month so they can firm up other financing for the $21.4-million building they hope to start next August and complete by 2019.

The hamlet has already prepared the site for the building and committed $1 million towards the $5.34-million down payment they must negotiate for a pre-construction mortgage.

They’re under some pressure to get that money together to move on financing and design plans and apply for training money through the Makigiaqta Inuit training corporation.

That’s why consultant Kim Staples and Kugluktuk SAO Don LeBlanc came Oct. 19 to the Kitikmeot Inuit Association’s annual general meeting in Cambridge Bay to present their concept and seek support—and money—from the Inuit birthright organization, which this past year showed a $9 million surplus, thanks to money from the TMAC Doris North mine.

Kugluktuk has no continuing long-term care centre, so its elders requiring heavy care sometimes end up in Ottawa, about 3,300 kilometres to the southeast.

While the long-term care centre promoters envision it as a territorial facility, Kugluktuk alone has 80 elders over the age of 65, out of 235 in the Kitikmeot region and 1,360 Nunavut-wide.

The proposed long-term care centre would create up to 42 jobs in Kugluktuk and draw on adapted equipment already in the community as well as its new funeral home, which is now close to completion.

The Government of Nunavut has asked the hamlet to draft a long-term fee-for-service contract for it to look at.

As Staples and LeBlanc explained it, the plan could see the long-term centre run by a non-profit corporation. The hamlet would own the building.

But the GN would agree to subsidize the centre’s beds over 20 years—the period of time that it would take to pay off the mortgage.

Staples and LeBlanc offered a visual update of the long-term care centre project, showing its future site which would overlook the water.

The building would have what they called a “race-track” shape, with rooms, painted in soothing green shades, spanning off a common hallway.  The round shape of the building would allow the centre’s residents to walk around in a supervised way, while its four sections or pods could be easily separated in case of an outbreak of a contagious illness.

The building would also allow for respite and palliative care and include a secure room that could be used for emergency mental health crises.

Outside landscaping would feature a rock garden and picnic area.

Some delegates at the KIA meeting wondered whether the new jobs associated with the centre would be solely for people in Kugluktuk and what kind of housing would be available, if any, for those coming in.

The AGM responded to the presentation on the proposed centre with a motion of support—while the board will consider the request for financial help outside the AGM.

The big challenge now is to raise the money required for the project, or else the SAO said it’s “dead in the water” for this year.

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