Another step closer
Plans under way for new health facilities

Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Sep 02/98) - The health facilities planned for Arviat and Rankin Inlet are becoming more of a reality for residents in the region.

The functional plan for the Arviat facility is expected to be approved by the GNWT in the next few weeks and the review for the Rankin Inlet facility will likely be completed by the end of September, according to Keewatin Regional Health Board officials. These documents outline the services each of the two facilities will provide for patients.

Construction will begin next spring for the Arviat health centre. However, the regional health centre in Rankin Inlet isn't expected to open its doors for patients until Jan. 1, 2001, said interim chief executive officer Jack MacKinnon at the board's meeting last week.

After the Rankin Inlet facility plan is approved by the Department of Health and Social Services sometime this fall, the project will enter the design phase and the request for proposals will go out for contractors.

"The department has some tight timelines," said MacKinnon.

KRHB chair Rosie Oolooyuk said that the process seems a little slow, particularly for the Rankin Inlet facility, but maintains that the projects are moving along and are expected to bring long-term improvements to health care in the region.

"We've been waiting long enough in the Keewatin," she said. "We're still waiting, but we're expecting it to happen."

The cost of the Rankin Inlet centre won't be released until after the completion of the functional review later this month.

MacKinnon said that the cost of the Rankin Inlet facility will likely fall somewhere between $9 and $15 million.

Oolooyuk said the board wants a $15 million facility and she said she will do her best to ensure the department of Health and Social Services understands the needs of the region.

"I'll try to make that happen," she added.

Board member Gordon Main of Arviat said that the board has already stipulated that $9 million won't be enough in a meeting in Arviat last May.

"I think we should say it now -- $9 million is not going to cut it," he said.

Board member Jo Kaludjak agreed.

"...$9 million doesn't meet our needs," he said. "If we're going to build a health facility, you have to listen to the needs of the people. The facility has to be $15 million to meet the minimum needs of the region."