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Government plans big continuing care facility

The Yukon government is in the early stage of planning a 300-bed continuing care home somewhere in Whitehorse.

The Yukon government is in the early stage of planning a 300-bed continuing care home somewhere in Whitehorse.

The government issued a tender this week seeking a business case analysis and pre-concept planning for a new facility.

“The work is intended to support decision-making and planning for a 300-bed facility (on a single site) with the immediate construction of up to 150 beds,” the tender says.

It would be the biggest continuing care facility in the territory.

Currently, the Department of Health and Social Services operates three such facilities in Whitehorse and one in Dawson City.

According to the documents, in Whitehorse, Copper Ridge Place has 96 extended care beds, Macaulay Lodge has 47 intermediate care beds and the Thomson Centre has a total of 28 beds of both kinds.

McDonald Lodge in Dawson City has 11 beds.

All the beds are currently full.

“If we look 10 or 15 years in the future we only see the need for continuing care beds growing,” said Pat Living, spokesperson for Health and Social Services. “As people get older and retire in the Yukon, we want to be prepared.”

Wait times for a continuing care bed in the Yukon is currently an average of 4.5 months. There are 25 people on the waitlist right now, said Living.

The tender notes that Macaulay Lodge - built in 1968 - is nearing the end of its life. Copper Ridge Place is 13 years old.

The Thomson Centre was built in 1993. In 2002, residents were moved to Copper Ridge Place. Thomson Centre was renovated and reopened in 2011.

Last year the government announced the 40-year-old McDonald Lodge will be replaced.

In addition to laying out the business plan for the new facility, the winning company is being asked to look at the future of both Macaulay Lodge and the Thomson Centre.

This latest tender will be the second report the government has commissioned in the last seven months on the expansion of continuing care.

A needs analysis was completed in June of last year.

That report outlines the needs in the territory, the number of beds and the type of programming required.

“Based on the historic growth in demand and service delivery and current demographic projections, this is strong evidence that continuing care will face very significant demand for increased capacity - nearly double the current capacity within the next decade and continued growth beyond 2021,” that report says.

The 2013 report places the cost of construction at more than $126 million.

But Kendra Black, spokesperson for the Department of Highways and Public Works, called that a very rough estimate, as no design work or construction plans have been done.

Whichever company wins the contract will be given five places around the city to consider as a location.

No specific sites are mentioned in the documentation. The five neighbourhoods listed are: Riverdale, Copper Ridge, Porter Creek, Whistle Bend or downtown. Specific locations the government is considering will be released to the winning company once the contract is awarded, but are not being made public right now, said Black.

The tender closes on Feb. 14. The report is scheduled to be completed in May.

Contact Ashley Joannou at