City council invited to tour Northland Pioneer Lodge
by Derek Cornet
A recent letter sent to Meadow Lake city council by Northland Pioneer Lodge fundraising co-chairperson Guelda Wood was discussed at the group’s Nov. 12 meeting, and the result was not a favourable one.
Wood invited council members to tour the facility to see first-hand the current state of the building. Discussed only briefly, council decided it would be best to respond to Wood’s letter by saying they’re aware of the problems at the lodge and they’re working as efficiently as possible to move the project forward.
“I know what the condition of the lodge is, so personally I don’t need a tour,” mayor Gary Vidal said.
At a subsequent interview with Wood conducted at Northland Pioneer Lodge the next day, she expressed her dismay that council didn’t take her up on the offer. She added, however, if they changed their mind, she would be happy to arrange a tour at a later date.
“Even if individual councillors want to come and take a look I’m open to it,” she said.
Wood said space is becoming an issue at the facility resulting in residents being double-bunked in one room. She added many residents are also without their own showers while others share a bathroom located between two rooms.
Other problems include the lack of space for larger wheelchairs and the moveable lifts required to adjust residents. She added many rooms also lack ceiling tract lifting, which has become common at other facilities. Overall, Wood said staff and residents are struggling to make due with the deteriorating situation at the lodge.
“The people living here deserve better than what they’ve got, but we do our best to make the lodge a home for them,” she said.
She looks forward to the day the project becomes more of a reality and further work is completed at a municipal level. The Northland Pioneer Lodge – like other long-term care facilities in the region – has aged substantially and no longer provides the support that a modern building could provide, Wood argued.