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Design contract for Nunavut long-term care facilities awarded

Nunavut is moving closer to getting 156 new long-term care beds in the territory. The government has awarded a contract for the design and construction of three new facilities to ft3 Architecture Landscape Interior Design.

Iqaluit in September 2018. One or two buildings to house seniors are slated for the capital, with a total of 108 beds. (Katherine Barton/CBC)

Nunavut is moving closer to getting 156 new long-term care beds in the territory.

The government of Nunavut awarded the contract for the design and construction of three new facilities to ft3 Architecture Landscape Interior Design.

The Winnipeg-based firm will oversee the building of a 24-bed facility in the Kitikmeot region and a 24-bed facility in the Kivalliq region, as well as one or two buildings in Iqaluit that will total 108 beds.

“We’ve done a lot of senior housing and personal care homes and we’ve done a lot of projects in northern and remote communities, specifically Indigenous communities,” said Marten Duhoux, a principal architect with the firm, and a northern adviser for the project.

“We’ll be looking at sustainability measures to ensure those are incorporated as well.”

Nunavut has long struggled to care for its elders closer to home. Many are sent thousands of kilometres away to residential care facilities out of the territory. As of 2017 there were 27 long-term care beds in the territory, and no facilities for elders with dementia. 

Designs slated for February

Past ft3 projects include six personal care homes on First Nations in Manitoba. Duhoux said the goal is to see seniors staying in communities in buildings that are more like a home than an institution.

Marten Duhoux is a principal architect with ft3, and a northern adviser for the project. (Submitted)

He said his team will be working closely with communities to set the stage. “We are pretty excited about that.”

Duhoux added that community engagement, including working in the local language, is important to the firm, and on previous projects it has worked with interpreters.

“People can express themselves way better in their own language,” he said.

According to the tender documents released by the Government of Nunavut, the first designs should be completed by February 2020. The plan is to have people move into the first long-term care centre in the Kitikmeot region by winter 2022, and the Kivalliq and Qikiqtaaluk facilities ready for residents by winter 2023.

MLA grateful

MLA Pat Angnakak is happy and grateful to hear that Nunavut is moving forward with long-term care facilities in the territory.

“Even just yesterday I was dealing with an issue with a family from another community who got really sad news that their mother has to … go down south because there are just not beds available in Nunavut,” she said.

“The family is heartbroken.”

A file photo of MLA Pat Angnakak. She wants to see the three regions have all levels of care for the elderly. (Nunavut Legislative Assembly)

Angnakak says she wants to see the three regions have all levels of care for the elderly.

“I think people need to be more [outspoken], people need to speak out, they need to say more to the government, to their MLAs, to their municipalities, of how important this is.”

The government of Nunavut has not yet revealed the cost of the facilities, or the locations in the Kitikmeot and Kivalliq regions. Angnakak expects the facilities outside of Iqaluit will be located in regional hubs.

CBC has requested an interview with the territorial government about the long-term care beds.

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