New location option for Pioneer Lodge

by Terry Villeneuve

There is a new twist in the search for the location of the new Northland Pioneer Lodge in Meadow Lake and health officials are
considering it a real possibility.

“Here we are at the eleventh hour and the Danilkewiches (Jake and Eve) have come to us with a land donation,” confirmed Lional Chabot, Vice-president of Development and Operations for Prairie North Regional Health Authority. “We have to be respectful with the donation and certainly we need to look at all the options.”

The Danilkewiches approached the health region earlier this month with two land parcel options. The first was along the speed curve north of Meadow Lake while the second is across the highway from the city cemetery, near the old Esso station. Both are situated in the RM of Meadow Lake.

“This way, they (the health region) would own the land,” said Eve Danilkewich. “The land behind the RCMP station would have to be leased from Flying Dust.”

Chabot noted the health authority had narrowed their site options to two – both on First Nations land – across the Meadow River and north of the police station.

“It’s always good to have more than one option and we’re now in the process of doing the due diligence piece. What’s it going to cost to get our utilities there compared to the other properties. We’re doing an environmental site assessment and also a geotech review. We’re trying to get the same information from all three sites and compare apples to apples,” he added.

The health region is looking for about 10 acres for the new seniors complex and Chabot believes more may be required.

“By looking at the footprint more closely, I’m not sure 10 is going to do it. In the end it may be a little bit more,” he said.

“We’ll have to go back to the Danilkewiches and see if I can persuade them to be a bit more generous.”

Initially, Eve Danilkewich said the former Esso property would be ideal, but with only 2.2 acres, it’s not enough land for the proposed development.

“Esso bought that from Jake’s father years ago and Esso is not willing to sell. Those big companies move very slowly when it comes to selling land,” added Eve.

The health authority is hoping to make a final decision on property by the end of the month – Feb. 29.

with files by Rhonda Cooper

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