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Sod-turning for assisted living centre

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 27, 2007

HAY RIVER - A sod-turning ceremony in Hay River on Aug. 10 marked the start of a project to build an assisted living centre for adults.

The first step in the project - which will cost $2.9 million - will be demolishing the Dene K'onia young offenders facility to make way for the new Territorial Adult Supported Living Centre.

That demolition is expected to start within a month and the new centre is scheduled to open sometime in 2008.

"I'm very pleased this day has come where we're going to get started on this project," said Hay River North MLA Paul Delorey.

Hay River South MLA Jane Groenewegen added it was a great day for Hay River.

"I can't wait to see the new facility here," she said.

A tender for the design and construction of the centre is expected to be called this week.

"The centre will be a really positive addition to the community of Hay River," said Gregory Cummings, the interim public administrator with the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority.

The new centre will consist of three houses and a day activity building for people in the community.

"It will be very much like a little housing project," Cummings said.

There will be 12 spaces for permanent residents and two spaces for respite care.

The new centre is expected to employ between eight and 12 people. It will allow the return of many adults now living in facilities in Alberta.

The road to the project has been a twisting route.

Dene K'onia was closed in April 2005. In May of that year, the GNWT announced the Territorial Treatment Centre for children with behavioural problems would move from Yellowknife to Hay River and be housed in a renovated Dene K'onia building.

In April of last year, the government decided to tear down Dene K'onia and construct a new building for the treatment centre, but in September switched back to renovating. In March of this year, the GNWT announced the Territorial Treatment Centre would stay in Yellowknife and a new assisted living facility for adults would be built in Hay River.