MELFORT — Melfort council has approved the extension of the lease agreement with the North Central Health Care Foundation (NCHC) to operate their hospital gift shop out of the north annex of the historic post office.
The NCHC originally moved into the space after council’s original vote on Oct. 19, 2020 in response to the hospital location being closed earlier that year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
All funds from the gift shop are used to purchase new and replacement equipment for the hospital.
Peggy George, NCHC chair, said they’ve committed to $100,000 off of the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s capital budget list this past November.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be there, it’s been well received by our regular shoppers and by lots of new people,” she said. “We’re still locked out of the facility (hospital) so we’re hoping to stay there for as long as we can.”
The previous rental agreement was to terminate as of June 30, but the Aug. 9 council meeting extended it to Nov. 30 due to the hospital’s pandemic regulations remaining in place.
Glenn George, Melfort’s mayor, excused himself from the vote announcing a conflict of interest due to being married to the chairperson of the foundation.
In George’s absence, Councillor April Phillips led the vote, which was unanimous from all councilors in attendance. Councillor Tim Hoenmans was not present during the meeting.
“As long as the COVID restrictions are in place in the hospital and Parkland it just makes sense to have it there because they don’t want the public going in and out of those facilities because it puts people at risk,” Phillips said.
The NCHC Foundation pays one dollar per month rent to the city for using the space.