by Phil Ambroziak
The Meadow Lake Co-op understands the value of meeting the needs of seniors both today and for generations to come.
That, according to general manager Terry Tremblay, is why the Co-op board of directors chose to donate $100,000 over five years to the new Northland Pioneers Lodge. Efforts to develop a new long-term care facility for Meadow Lake and area have been underway for several years, so this financial injection is exactly the sort of medicine project supporters have been hoping for.
“It’s huge,” remarked Guelda Wood, fundraising coordinator for the new facility. “It shows the community is still behind this project 100 per cent even though there was no money in this year’s provincial budget for the new lodge.”
Earlier this year, Prairie North Regional Health Authority (PNRHA) CEO David Fan confirmed construction of the new, 72-bed Northland Pioneers Lodge on a parcel of land just north of the city would be delayed at least a year because of the provincial government’s decision not to include the close to $40 million project in its 2015 budget. While the city and RM of Meadow Lake also have a financial share in the project, suspicions of the delay arose March 18 when provincial finance minister Ken Krawetz tabled the budget, a document that listed $256.4 million in health care capital funding with no mention of Meadow Lake. It’s reasons like this, Tremblay noted, which make the Co-op’s recent contribution all the more important.
“This project is necessary not only for our area, but for the entire Northwest,” Tremblay explained. “This is also a project that’s going to have the most impact on the community. More and more Co-ops throughout the province are beginning to understand the benefits of social responsibility and we believe a new Northland Pioneers Lodge will benefit everyone – members and non-members alike.”
Co-op announced the donation Friday night (July 24) at the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA) races at the Meadow Lake Stampede Grounds. Flanked by Wood, local seniors and staff from the current long-term care facility, Tremblay presented the oversized cheque to PNRHA vice-president of finance and operations Derek Miller.
“Northland Pioneers Lodge provides an important service to your community,” Miller announced to the crowd during Friday’s races. “We’ve seen great leadership on the part of the Co-op by coming forward with this donation.”
Meanwhile, Meadow Lake area resident Julie Dyck has been hired as fundraising co-chair for the new lodge. She stepped into the role just recently, but Wood said there hasn’t been much in terms of fundraising as of late beyond the Co-op presentation.
“Julie was born and raised in Meadow Lake, so she has a real vested interest in the new facility,” Wood said. “She has both the time and the ability to really help us out, so we’ll be getting together soon to discuss new ideas and what we have planned going forward.”