What’s another few hundred thousand dollars?

Quite a bit if you ask members of the Northwest Community Lodge Association, the group tasked with raising funds for furniture and fixtures at Meadow Lake’s new long-term care facility. Recently, NCLA president Alannah Farr told Northern Pride the group’s fundraising target has been lowered and, instead of the original $2.7 million, the NCLA now only needs to raise $2.3 million.

“We want to thank all of our generous donors who have supported and continue to support our fundraising efforts for the furniture, fixtures and equipment for the Northwest Community Lodge Association,” Farr said. “ We received some great news from the Saskatchewan Health Authority. The amount required to furnish the new care home has decreased. Our new fundraising total is $2.3million.”

However, Farr said this does not mean ongoing fundraising efforts will slow down in any way.

“We have raised $1.6 million to date, so there is still more work to be done before our residents move into their new home in the coming months,” she said. “Once again, we thank (the donors) for their ongoing commitment and support.”

According to Meadow Lake MLA Jeremy Harrison, the reason for the decrease stems from the need to furnish and equip the facility sooner rather than later.

“My understanding is the Government of Saskatchewan will, in the short term, be supporting directly the furnishing of the new Northwest Community Lodge,” Harrison said. “The ability of the community to raise money for the furnishings and equipment has obviously been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As government, we want to ensure the lodge can become operational as soon as possible. In the long term, the expectation will continue to be for the association to raise the funds necessary for equipping the lodge.”

However, according to Neal Sylvestre, the SHA’s executive director of continuing care for the Northwest, cost savings have been realized thanks to the work of the many partners involved.

“Some of these savings realized included reviewing project components along the way, which led to an evaluation of each item and where applicable some items were substituted or removed,” Sylvestre said. “The project’s procurement process leveraged existing provincial SHA contracts, which led to additional savings. Equipment/software costs were procured early enough in the project to avoid vendor cost increases due to the global supply chain issues; and, contingency allocations in the initial budget were not needed.”

Farr, meanwhile, said the NCLA team continues to work hard to ensure the overall goal of $2.3 million is met.

“Our community and surrounding areas continue to be supportive to our efforts and we cannot thank them enough,” she reiterated. “Our fundraising efforts will continue post move-in to further fundraise each year for equipment that will be needed, similar to (the work of) the Meadow Lake Hospital Foundation… As we are nearing the opening date (for the new facility), we are exploring as many options as we can and one of them is to apply for grants that fall under our category of funding. We are hoping these grants help bridge some of the gap in our fundraising efforts.”

by Phil Ambroziak