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Long-term care centre on track for 2023 finish

So long as Rankin Inlet’s utilidor can keep up
One snafu the long-term care centre in Rankin Inlet could face is the community’s ability to service it with the town’s utilidor system, which is already stretched to maximum capacity. The Department of Community and Government Services told Kivalliq News that this challenge is being addressed to ensure it does not impact the delivery of this project. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

Pandemic restrictions delayed progress on construction of Rankin Inlet’s long-term care centre in 2021, but the facility is on track to be completed in 2023.

“I think the council and certainly everybody is looking forward to seeing it finalized,” said Darren Flynn, senior administrative officer for the hamlet.

“It’s a new facility, it’s going to provide a service that’s desperately needed, and the real spin-off is that it will have a huge economic impact on the community because it will create the employment that’s needed to be able to properly look after and service those clients.”

The facility will include two houses, each comprising 12 beds, plus a common area with shared spaces for multi-faith worship, traditional healing, a beauty salon and barber shop.

Suleikha Duale, communication specialist with the Department of Community and Government Services, stated in an email that the current approved budget for the centre is $59.35 million, with construction forecast to complete October 2023.

“Construction progress was limited in the 2021 season due to Covid-19 and the 2021 construction season closed with a few activities deferred to 2022, including piling, access vault (utilidor) work and structural steel,” stated Duale.

“The existing state of the Rankin Inlet utilidor system is at capacity and in need of repairs. This challenge is being addressed with an appropriate level of effort to ensure this does not impact the delivery of this project.”

Mikim Contracting Limited is the company appointed for the project and the target Inuit employment percentage is 35 per cent.

“The contractor confirmed that there are no foreseen delays that will impact the project completion date scheduled for October 2023,” stated Duale.

Martha Hickes, deputy mayor of Rankin Inlet, said the care home has been discussed for many years in the town’s council chambers.

“We’re very happy that it’s happening,” she said.

“It’s important to keep our ever-growing population of Elders in the Kivalliq and Nunavut at home, close to their family, friends and relatives.”

As well, Inuit grow up on country foods, so when Elders are sent south for care, they are often craving for the sustenance they know so well and need, added Hickes.

“We waited a long time and it’s a much-needed place for our Elders to feel right at home,” said Hickes, adding that the project will provide employment for community members as well.

Wedged between the Agnico Eagle Arena and Kivalliq Health Centre, Rankin Inlet’s long-term care centre will serve much-needed Elder support once completed. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo