Nunavut MLA urges Iqaluit to support big new elders care centre
Proposed care facility would offer 80 beds
It’s better to plan for the future than it is to build for the needs of today.
That was the message from Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak when she addressed Iqaluit’s city council Jan. 12 with a proposal for a modern elders care centre.
The MLA currently co-chairs a steering committee on the Sailivik Society, which wants to build the long-term care facility in the territory’s capital.
Appearing as a delegate, Angnakak asked Iqaluit City Council to throw its support behind the project, as well as begin the process for re-zoning an area on Umiaq St., near the breakwater, for the facility’s development.
“There is nothing on the horizon when it comes to having the type of care our elders currently don’t get in Iqaluit or Nunavut,” said the MLA.
And the care currently available in the territory often forces elders south in their final years, she said.
A five-year wait list already exists to get into Iqaluit’s existing elders centre, operated by the Pairijait Tigumivik Society.
Under its current objectives, the new elders centre would provide roughly 80 beds.
And those beds would be sectioned into long-term, dementia, assisted living and hospice care.
However, due to the early stages of the proposal, exactly who will fund the endeavor remains unclear.
“In our vision the government will play a role in that they will assist us in erecting this facility and operating it,” Angnakak told council.
The facility would be operated by a non-profit organization.
Angnakak wants the centre to be a territorial facility.
Its proximity to the Qikiqtani General Hospital, she said, would allow the modern elders centre to provide all levels of care without relying on southern treatment.
Coun. Joanasie Akumalik pointed out that many elders from across Nunavut already come to Iqaluit for care — making the wait list even longer for Iqaluit residents.
Akumalik asked what priority, if any, would be given to Iqaluit elders.
Angnakak assured council that the facility’s board would be sensitive to the care of local elders.
During her presentation, the MLA stated the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the Nunavut Housing Corp. already support the project.
And an architect has already been approached by the society to design the building.
The time for building the care centre is now, Angnakak said.
“Costs are never going to go down, they are only going to go up.”
Poor weather, however, as well as other commitments by councilors, had Angnakak delivering her presentation to only half of city council members.
And the city’s planning and development director, Mélodie Simard, was also unable to attend because of a delayed flight.
The short-staffed council was forced to defer its recommendation to a later date.