The meeting between representatives of the Wawota Save Our Beds Committee (SOBC) and the Sun Country Health Region board went off as planned, despite some nasty weather, but the sun didn't end up shining for the community group.
The meeting was planned so the SOBC could continue a dialogue with the health region in their attempt to reopen five long-term care beds at the Wawota-based Deer View Lodge which had been closed.
With the 'weather bomb' hitting the area on the assigned day of the meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 27, some of those who had planned on attending the meeting were unable to make the drive to Weyburn, where the health region board meets.
Allotted 20 minutes of time at 10:30 a.m. on the day of the monthly board meeting, the feeling that things were not going to be good struck SOBC chairman Dale Easton upon arrival.
"A lot of the board members weren't there," Easton said. "And it was pretty quick after things got started that the regions administrative staff, who were in attendance, took over the discussion."
Lasting for more than twice the allotted time, the meeting ran for 50 minutes, however Easton indicated he felt the 50 minutes were poorly spent.
"It was a wasted 50 minutes in the end," Easton said. "We were just kind of locked out of the discussion from the start, and it didn't really change."
The heart of the issue, the five long-term beds at the Deer View Lodge facility, is what prompted the meeting.
"We have a goal to see those five beds reopened again," Easton had said previously. "We haven't wavered in that commitment."
Unfortunately for the SOBC, the situation continues to stand as it did before the meeting with Sun Country.
"The health minister had told us to meet with the region and see what we could work out," Easton said. "But it wasn't much of a meeting. There was some dialogue, but as of this point, the beds are still closed."
The decision to close the beds had been made in April of this year, with the public announcement being made on May 20.
By mid-June the beds were closed, and the wing of the facility the beds were housed in was closed to care services.
"It was probably the most unproductive meeting I have ever attended," Easton said of the sit-down. "Nothing got done, nothing was advanced, and there was no real discussion."
"It was just the worst meeting [with the region] so far."
The Wawota SOBC has been circulating a petition throughout the Southeast region seeking support for their efforts to reopen the care beds.
The petition numbers, once collected, counted, and collated, will be reported.