The design work for a new long-term care facility in Hay River has stopped for a review of the possible cost of the project.
Julie Green, the minister of Health and Social Services, told the Legislative Assembly about the decision on Oct. 28.
“Design is currently on hold for that facility,” she said. “We need to go over what it will cost to build.”
That decision also impacts the plan to build a long-term care facility in Inuvik.
“Construction costs have gone up, and we have identified a shortfall of $31.5 million for the long-term care facilities in Hay River and also in Inuvik,” said Green. “We need to recalibrate where we’re at with costs and come back with an adjustment to our plan. The short answer is: it’s on hold.”
The minister was responding to questions from Hay River South MLA Rocky Simpson about the status of the project, which will see a 48-bed facility built in Hay River.
Simpson asked how far along the GNWT is in looking at the funding shortfall.
“What is the cost?” Simpson asked. “What does the lack of funding mean to the facility?”
Green said the department is in the process of reviewing the 2015 costs and bed projections.
“It is currently a confidential document,” she said. “The results need to be validated with communities and the plan refreshed, and so that work is ongoing now and will be completed early next year.”
The GNWT is hoping to build a new long-term care facility on the site of the old H.H. Williams Memorial Hospital.
Health workers still at that old hospital will be moved to a new administration building currently under construction in downtown Hay River. That move is expected as early as the spring.
When that happens, the old hospital will be demolished.
Currently, there are long-term care beds at Woodland Manor, which will continue to operate once a new facility is built.