Published on May 18, 2012
The Southwest Booster
As the head of the Saskatchewan government, but particularly as the MLA for Swift Current, Premier Brad Wall was pleased to announce May 18 during a press conference held at the Prairie Pioneers Lodge that his government is moving forward on the next phase in the process of replacing Swift Current’s aging long-term care homes, all of which were built between 45 and 55 years ago.
“The Health Region is going to issue a request for an expression of interest from those who can provide long-term care facilities, who have done that in the past in the province, and they will respond. We know there is already interest. We understand that there will be a response. We’re going to take the time to evaluate those proposals and make a decision in the fall," Wall said during Friday's announcement.
In 2009, the provincial government provided $450,000 to the Cypress Health Region to create a capital plan for the replacement of the three existing facilities, which currently represent a total of 198 beds. With this announcement, the project is one step closer to reality.
“After [proposals are received], the Region and the Ministry, together, with the successful proponent, are going to get to work on the specific design. We’re going to make sure we’re listening to front-line staff in the design, we’re going to make sure we’re listening to residents and families of residents in the design, and … we’re going to apply LEAN design techniques to the facility itself.”
Wall said the new facility would offer about 220 beds in addition to the efficiencies and convenience of being co-located at the site of the Cypress Regional Hospital.
In terms of funding, the usual 80/20 split by government and municipalities will apply.
“There will still be that requirement in this model, even though the government itself is not building the facility, but we’re going to work carefully with the City so that’s managed and it’s certainly affordable and appropriate for the community and for the citizens of Swift Current.”
Once expressions of interest are received, the Cypress Health Region and the Ministry of Health will proceed with an open request for proposals.
“This is a great day, Wall said. “We’re happy to see this take the next step,” adding, “This is part of a process, not an event.”
Wall said initial estimates for the cost of this project are upwards of $60 million, meaning that approximately $12 million will have to come from the City.
“The local parts in other projects have sometimes come from levies, sometimes come from reserves that they have, or a long-term payment plan,” Wall suggested.
As for plans for the existing long-term care facilities, Wall said, “I think we’ll want to work with all our partners in that regard.”
Wall anticipated that the project would see sod being turned by the middle of 2013.