GANDER, NL – With long-term care facilities running at capacity throughout the Central Health region with 524 beds and a growing waitlist, provincial government stepped forward with some long-awaited news on Monday.
Funding was announced for two 60-bed long-term care facilities – one in Gander and one in Grand Falls-Windsor – and a 20-bed expansion of the protective care unit in Botwood.
In December, a request for qualifications (RFQ) will be issued to establish a short list of private sector businesses interested in designing, building, financing and maintaining the new homes.
A request for proposals (RFP) to select a design consultant for the extension to the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Centre in Botwood will be issued in early 2018.
Construction on all three projects will begin in 2019, with a completion date expected for 2021.
Furthermore, Health Minister John Haggie announced plans are moving forward to replace the aging Lakeside Homes.
“Tucked into the process of acquiring the (new facility) site in Gander will be a requirement for sufficient extra space to put a new Lakeside Homes on the same site,” said Haggie. “At the end of this process you will actually have one bigger facility that will deal with the current and projected demands for long-term care in Gander.”
Aside from the healthcare aspect, Premiere Dwight Ball also pointed to the economic benefit to the central region.
Upwards of 200 public service employees will be required to staff the facilities. During construction, there will be more than 343 person-years of employment created and $39 million in economic activity.
“But here’s the main message, (in Gander alone) once the building is done, services inside those walls will be delivered by 70 to 90 working in the facility, providing long-term care services for the residents of this area,” Ball said. “The start of this facility in Gander is another way for our government to meet a growing demand for long-term care.”
RoseMarie Goodyear, Central Health CEO, called the additional 140 beds, great news.
“Our goal is to provide care to people, and right now, there is a need for long-term care beds,” she said.
“This new announcement will certainly go a long way in addressing that need.”