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Sailivik Society president hopes for 2018 opening for Iqaluit elders' facility

The Sailivik Society says it's making progress on its new long-term care facility for elders in Iqaluit, despite the discovery of a sewer line running through the proposed building site.

Society in talks with city about moving sewer line that runs through property

An illustration of what the proposed elders' facility in Iqaluit may look like. Sailivik Society president Pat Angnakak says the draft is expected to change. (Mason White/Lateral Office)

The Sailivik Society says it's making progress on its new long-term care facility for elders in Iqaluit, despite the discovery of a sewer line running through the proposed building site.

"A lot has happened, and sometimes I think more should have happened," said Pat Angnakak, board member of the society and also the MLA for Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu.

One of the milestones that has happened since last year is the hiring of a new business plan writer through funding from the government's Department of Economic Development and Transportation, said Angnakak. The planner — who Angnakak says is familiar with long-term care facilities — will arrive in Iqaluit this February and is expected to complete a business plan by the end of March.

The proposed facility would include long-term care beds, dementia care beds, assisted living accommodation, hospice and elders' programs and services. The society would also like to include an Inuktitut-language daycare, said Angnakak.

Sewer line discovered

Perhaps a less fortunate development has been the recent discovery of a sewer line that runs through the land.

"We are currently talking with the city about how best to move the sewer line," said Joe Tigullaraq from the Sailivik Society.

The estimated price tag to move the sewer line will be between $2 million and $3 million, according to the society.

'A lot has happened, and sometimes I think more should have happened,' says Pat Angnakak of progress on the facility. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

"That's not going to stop us from proceeding with the project," said Tigullaraq.

The funding for moving the sewer line is "the city's responsibility, but we'll see what happens," says Angnakak.

The society has also met up with hunters and residents of the affected area where the building will go up.

That's not going to stop us from proceeding with the project.- Joe Tigullaraq

"Obviously, it's going to affect the routes of how they access the sea ice, and that whole consultation process went very well," said Angnakak.

The society said it will hire a contractor to help move the shacks and boats along the beach.

"We are prepared to help [residents] move where they want them," said Tigullaraq.

Priority for elders in Iqaluit

The board has decided that priority housing will be given to elders living in Iqaluit.

"And if we still have room, we will look at the other regions, if they don't have that kind of care in their own regions," said Angnakak.

The board is still figuring out who will pay for the services, but Angnakak says she hopes that it will be a partnership between the government and Inuit organizations that will be able to "come up with all the capital."

She said it's likely that this facility will create between 80 and 100 jobs.

Angnakak said she hopes the construction material can be transported to Iqaluit on sealift by this summer, and hopes to open the doors of the new facility in 2018.  

with files from Lucy Burke

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