Kugluktuk care home delays could doom project

by Derek Neary- November 30, 2018

Time may be running out on the Hamlet of Kugluktuk’s efforts to build a 24-bed continuing care centre.

Ryan Nivingalok: “We don’t want to see all that time and effort go to waste.” photo courtesy of Ryan Nivingalok

Well over a year after making an initial pitch to the Government of Nunavut, the community still has no approvals, said Mayor Ryan Nivingalok.

“It’s getting kind of tough. We’ve got partners who want to know what’s going on with the contract,” Nivingalok said last week. “We don’t want to see all that time and effort go to waste.”

The hamlet, which has lined up financing and has cleared an area for construction, wants the Department of Health to sign a service agreement that would pay for the nursing care to keep more ailing elders in Kugluktuk. The Department of Health has been fully briefed on the fee-for-service structure.

Former Health minister Pat Angnakak said in May that the GN prefers to issue a request for proposals, which would be open to the hamlet’s plan, among others.

Kugluktuk MLA Mila Kamingoak demanded answers from Health Minister George Hickes in the legislative assembly on Oct. 30, once again outlining the “desperate” need for long-term care for elders in the territory and the GN’s “frustrating” delays in moving ahead with the Hamlet of Kugluktuk’s proposition.

Kamingoak reminded her colleagues that she’ s already tabled a petition signed by more than 300 residents who support the development of the 24-hour care facility.

Hickes replied that he will update the Department of Heath’s plans for long-term care in December but later said he doesn’t have a “definite timeline.”

Kamingoak said she appreciates that evaluating every option is important, “however, it is also important that reviews, studies, and decisions occur in a timely manner so that we do not miss critical opportunities to proceed.”

Hickes said whenever the GN receives an “unsolicited proposal,” the government evaluates it to ensure it provides benefits for Nunavummiut.

“We can explore different options associated with it. We do have to make sure that we are following the accountability to you as legislators and to the population who we are accountable to,” said Hickes, “but I can assure the member that when we have some finite options available in front of us, we will sit down and we will go over the best open path to provide long-term care across the territory.”

The Department of Health didn’t respond with any further details prior to Nunavut News’ press deadline.

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