New long-term care facility awaits funding

by Phil Ambroziak

The stakes may be gone and the land may be seeded, but plans to develop a new long-term care facility on a 10-acre piece of property just north of Meadow Lake remain unchanged.

Recently, Jake and Eve Danilkewich allowed Peter Shkopich to seed the property they plan to donate to the Prairie North Regional Health Authority – not because the new facility will be located somewhere else, but rather to make the most of the land while they still can.

“The land hasn’t been turned over to them (Prairie North) yet – we’ll gladly do so when they’re ready for it, we just haven’t heard from them,” Eve Danilkewich explained. “Last year we left the stakes in and did not seed the area. It ended up full of weeds – it was such a mess. This year, we’ve planted barley there.”

Danilkewich went on to say the land, which the couple announced early last year they would donate, can always be resurveyed when necessary.

“We haven’t revoked our offer,” she said. “I think maybe they just have too many irons in the fire at this time.”

According to Meadow Lake mayor Gary Vidal, the biggest thing delaying the project’s development is money. With an estimated price tag of anywhere between $25 million to $30 million, the city and the neighbouring RM of Meadow Lake would be responsible for 20 per cent of overall capital costs. While the province will fund the remaining 80 per cent, the municipalities are also responsible for another $1 million to $1.5 million for furnishings and equipment.

“That’s the part where the health region has taken the lead in helping us fundraise but – as far as the project itself – we don’t anticipate anything happening for at least a couple of years,” Vidal said.

The city did recently introduce a levy of $75 per each residential and multi-residential property, money from which will be placed in a separate reserve and later used toward the city’s portion of the project. By implementing this levy, the city expects to collect close to $117,000, which is a small amount compared to how much the municipality’s final share would have to be.

“It’s a small start,” Vidal said. “It shows we’re making an attempt. It’s a message that says this thing will proceed in some manner at some point.”

The mayor said the city will meet with RM officials in the near future to determine where both sides are at and what steps should be taken next.

“Our priority right now is a $4 million project (sewer lift station) at 9th Avenue West,” Vidal said. “We need a plan to pay for that before biting off another $5 million.”

It was February 2012 when the Danilkewiches informed Prairie North they would donate land for the new facility. They felt it was simply the right thing to do.

“At the time no one was sure if it would be built south of town or maybe on the reserve (Flying Dust First Nation), so I suggested we donate 10 acres and Jake thought it was a good plan,” Danilkewich said. “Now, I believe, it’s just a matter of money.”

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