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Weighing the options

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Chesterfield Inlet (Dec 10/01) - A Kivalliq partnership may pave the way for the St. Theresa Guest Home to stay in Chesterfield Inlet.

The long-term extended-care facility has been operated by the Western Diocese and Bishop Reynald Rouleau on a contractual basis for the past two years.

The bishop took over the facility after the last of the Grey Nuns left Chester about two years ago.

The present operations contract will expire on April 1, 2002.

Health Minister Ed Picco said last week his department has received a joint-development proposal between the Chesterfield Development Corp. and Tapiriit.

Picco said the proposal is solid, although it does go beyond the scope of the original request for proposal.

"We were looking for accommodations for eight to 10 people and this proposal looks at accommodating 20 in a larger facility," said Picco.

"The discussions we're having right now are to find out how we can move forward on the facility within the budget we have available."

Picco said he hopes that if the proposal can be worked out, the bishop will be moved enough by the prospect of a new facility in Chester to run the existing one for another year.

The minister said his department is also looking at a training component for the St. Theresa project to maximize local employment.

Bishop Rouleau said he has not been approached yet by the minister regarding the project.

Although not elated about the prospect of taking on another year at the facility, he said he will listen to what Picco has to say.

"It's not my first choice, but I would have to seriously consider a proposal from the government to stay on for another year if they didn't have any viable alternative in place."