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Kugluktuk MLA Mila Kamingoak expressed “extreme frustration” Wednesday over the Department of Health’s approach to long-term care planning and for not endorsing a long-standing “very comprehensive” hamlet proposal to support a facility in her community.

Kugluktuk MLA Mila Kamingoak blasted the Department of Health over its approach to long-term care in the legislative assembly on Wednesday. photo courtesy of the GN

“The funding for the building has been secured (privately)… The government would only be required to allocate funding for the care services provided, funding that would have to be made available no matter where our elders are living… The site has been identified and acquired. Plans are in place to begin training, yet our government continues to ignore this option,” Kamingoak said, adding that existing regional long-term care centres in Arviat, Gjoa Haven, Iglulik and Baker Lake shouldn’t be closed when new facilities are built.

Health Minister George Hickes replied that talks with the Hamlet of Kugluktuk are still ongoing about the municipality’s long-term care proposal.

“I can’t negotiate an agreement here in the House,” Hickes said. “There have been a number of correspondence and again as recently in the last week or two with officials with the community on moving this project forward.”

The GN has awarded a tender — cost undisclosed — for the architectural design of three long-term care buildings in Nunavut for a total of 156 beds. A 108-bed building is to be built in Iqaluit while one 24-bed structure will be located in the Kivalliq and another 24-bed facility will go to the Kitikmeot. The government has not yet publicly identified which communities will host the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot buildings.

“With regard to closing down existing facilities, that’s very presumptive. I know I have talked about in the past that when we have met the need, at some time we’re going to have to look at re-purposing some of these facilities,” said Hickes. “That’s down the road so far, Mr. Speaker. We’re not going to be closing those facilities until the needs are met in the territory.”

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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