Kugluktuk’s mayor and council, as well as the broader community, feel “heartfelt disappointment” over the Government of Nunavut’s decision to place a Kitikmeot 24-hour continuing care centre in Cambridge Bay instead of Kugluktuk.
Mayor David Nivingalok issued a news release on Wednesday emphasizing that Kugluktuk had spent the past three years “vigorously working towards its initiative to establish a Kugluktuk long-term care facility for its Elders.”
“We are tremendously disappointed about going through the lengthy processes without getting a favourable decision – but we will continue our dialogue with the GN to make sure our community’s urgent need for Elders’ care is understood and addressed,” Nivingalok stated.
Health Minister George Hickes told Kugluktuk MLA Calvin Pedersen in the legislative assembly on Monday that he had a direct conversation with Kugluktuk’s mayor and senior administrative officer in March to inform them of the decision.
In responding to Pedersen’s question as to why Cambridge Bay is being awarded the continuing care facility rather than Kugluktuk, Hickes said, “I can’t get into full details, obviously. As I have mentioned numerous times in the House, it was an unsolicited proposal (from Kugluktuk) that was submitted to the Government of Nunavut. I think I was probably one of the strongest proponents of moving forward down this path to see if it was feasible to put in a long-term care facility in Kugluktuk.”
However, the GN is following “experts’ guidelines” by choosing to put the continuing care centres in regional hubs, Hickes explained.
“It’s unfortunate that after all the risks and the pros and cons were assessed, at the end of the day my responsibility to seniors is to make sure they have a safe place to live and be cared for,” the minister said. “It was just unfortunate with the risks that were associated with having a facility away from a regional hub for the level of care that we’re trying to provide to help accelerate Nunavummiut repatriation back to the territory for care.”