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GN scoping cost of adding 156 long-term care beds

The Government of Nunavut posted a request Monday for architectural designs for new long-term care facilities in Iqaluit and in the Kivalliq and the Kitikmeot regions – a total of 156 beds.

Cambridge Bay has eight long-term care beds available. The Government of Nunavut has started the process of determining the cost to add 156 long-term care beds in Nunavut, the bulk of them in Iqaluit. photo courtesy of the Government of Nunavut

The proposal involves 108 long-term care beds in Iqaluit and 24 long-term care beds in each of the Kivalliq and the Kitikmeot, although the communities where those latter two facilities would be located has yet to be determined.

The Iqaluit facility would offer 108,000 square feet while the two regional buildings would be 46,500 square feet.

Further details from the Department of Health were not immediately available.

Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Lightstone expressed pleasant surprise upon learning of the architectural tender for the long-term care facilities, which have been a repeated demand from MLAs in the legislative assembly for years.

"I'm actually quite grateful for it... our elders are growing in numbers every year and our lack of long-term care facilities is quite apparent," Lightstone said. "Given the size of a 108-bed facility, I think that's going to contribute to Iqaluit's economy as well and create a lot of jobs. I think the next step is the government, and specifically Arctic College, really needs to step up and start training the support workers required to run that facility."

There are currently 44 long-term care beds in Nunavut. All are full. There are about 30 seniors who are living at Embassy West Senior Living in Ottawa. Sending Nunavut elders south for the remaining years of their lives has long been a contentious issue.

The government's tender specifies that the new facility will provide level-two and level-three assisted living as well as level-four and/or level-five care for individuals with more complex needs.

The deadline for the architectural proposals is June 7.