There’s still a long road ahead, but the Northwest Community Lodge Association has not veered from its path of raising the necessary funds for furniture, fixtures and equipment at Meadow Lake’s new long-term care facility.

As of last week, the group had raised $913,000 of its $2.7 million goal. A huge chunk of change, however, is expected to be added to the pot as soon as the association is able to sell the nearly completed home it currently has for sale on Gibson Crescent.

“We’re just finishing up drywall and taping, and we’ll be painting in the New Year,” explained Alannah Farr, president of the Northwest Community Lodge Association. “We received a lot of really good local support from the contractors around town for very low cost or, in some cases, even for free. Our timeline is a little slower than expected because we’ve had to wait on their availability, but it’s been worth it. I believe by early in the New Year the house will be wrapped up.”

The house is already listed with a realtor with an asking price of $530,000,” Farr continued. “Once it’s sold, the proceeds minus what our costs are for the contractors will go toward our fundraising efforts.”

The house was built by Meadow Lake Properties, and Farr said the association was fortunate to connect with the developer at just the right time.

“They were initially going to build this as a spec house, but we approached them just at the perfect time to make this work,” she said. “We’re hoping to see a larger return with it.”

She also said the home includes some unique features.

“It has a custom sink and a feature bathroom, while we’re also working with Meadow Lake Welding which is creating a custom handrail for the indoor staircase,” she said. “The house itself is located on an oversized lot with a double detached garage in the back with back alley access.”

Meanwhile, leading up to the holidays, the association has also been focusing its efforts on some other fundraising initiatives.

“We had a holiday auction on until Dec. 20 through our Facebook page, and an online 50/50 for up to $50,000,” Farr noted. “That one closes Dec. 30 and we hope to have another online 50/50 in the New Year, but this one will run for an even longer timeframe. We’ve also developed a brand complete with campaign packages we will be going door-to-door with to local businesses to ask for sponsorship and recognition in the new facility. We’re waiting until after Christmas to start that, however.”

She also said there are other fundraising ideas that have been considered for 2021, but nothing concrete as of yet.

“I do need to acknowledge the community, though,” she said. “The ongoing support has been tremendous. In the last three weeks we’ve had more than $20,000 come in just in private donations, which is great.”

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) awarded the tender for the new $36.6 million, 72-bed long-term care facility to Binder Construction last spring. The new building will be significantly larger than the current 55-bed Northland Pioneers Lodge. The Government of Saskatchewan will fund 80 per cent of the capital cost of construction, with the remaining 20 per cent funded locally.

The site is located in the RM of Meadow Lake across from the industrial area along Highway 4 North.

by Phil Ambroziak