ESTEVAN — Don Kindopp, the chairman of the new Estevan Regional Nursing Home committee, believes progress continues to be made for the building following the latest meeting with representatives of the provincial government.
Representatives of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Ministry of Health and SaskBuilds were in attendance for the meeting on Nov. 14. Kindopp said SaskBuilds sent out a request for proposals, and BTY Consultancy landed the successful build.
Kindopp said BTY will provide project management and clinical advisory. The work on the document began on Oct. 1. Key parameters will include site profile, services, stakeholders, previous assessments and sources of information.
Key activities, according to Kindopp, include data analysis, population and more.
Kindopp expects the report should be completed by the end of February.
“In March, we will have an opportunity to come together and look at the options,” said Kindopp.
The government has granted the committee’s request to provide local input for the needs assessment.
“I think it would be safe to say that we know the needs of the community, and we would like to express those needs in terms of the options proceeding forward,” said Kindopp.
The committee wants to give advice on the location, the opportunities for innovative approaches to the building, and how it would fit into health care in Estevan and area.
The new nursing home committee had their own needs assessment completed a few years ago. Kindopp said this document will have updated figures, demographics and other information.
“If you were going to buy a car three years ago, you looked at what you needed then, and three years later, your needs may have changed,” said Kindopp.
There was a lot of frustration expressed by the local nursing home committee at the recent meeting, Kindopp said. The committee has been working on this for 16 years and had the necessary funds for the building to proceed for almost eight years. The new nursing home committee had to raise $8 million, or 20 per cent of the estimated $40 million cost, and they reached their goal in early 2015. Donations have continued to come in over the past eight years.
Now they are concerned that the building could cost more than what was previously projected.
“It doesn’t help at the table to be angry, but if you have that anger, and that generates your energy and keeps you going on your cause, then that’s important,” said Kindopp.
Estevan MLA Lori Carr, who is the minister for SaskBuilds and Procurement, was not present for the meeting because she had to be in the legislature that day.
She’s not sure if the new nursing home committee would have to raise additional funds if the project came in at more than $40 million.
“We don’t know exactly what the project is going to look like and what the cost is going to be,” said Carr.
If they do have to raise more money, that wouldn’t stop the project from proceeding.
“We’re on the timeline now. The needs assessment, we’re going through the process. I don’t know if more money will need to be raised down the road. That discussion hasn’t taken place. But the process will not be stopped. It will move forward,” she said.
Now that the needs assessment is progressing, Carr predicted the facility should start to proceed nicely.
Carr noted the committee did a “fantastic job” of raising the funds, but she pointed out the nursing home wasn’t included in the budget until 2021.
“So, even though we, as the citizens of Estevan, feel as though the clock has been ticking for years and years and years, the first time the Government of Saskatchewan actually announced that this project was a go-ahead was March of 2021,” said Carr.
It was moving slowly at the start because the government’s focus was on the COVID-19 pandemic, but now the government has turned its attention to matters other than COVID.
The two sides aren’t expected to meet again between now and the March 2023 session. Carr said she would welcome the opportunity to attend that meeting if she can.