Government releases new O&M estimate for Whistle Bend care facility

 The Yukon government says it has provided an official estimate of $26.9 million per year for the operations and maintenance of the Whistle Bend continuing care facility.

The Yukon government says it has provided an official estimate of $26.9 million per year for the operations and maintenance of the Whistle Bend continuing care facility.

The figure was released last week, after the NDP suggested the Yukon Party government may have failed to produce an estimate for the facility.

The government insists it has done nothing wrong.

The $26.9-million estimate was provided to the management board, which oversees the government’s budgeting process, according to an email from the Health Department.

That figure doesn’t quite match up with the $28-million estimate that Health Minister Mike Nixon mentioned in the legislative assembly two weeks ago.

Nixon said that estimate was based on current costs at the Copper Ridge continuing care facility.

But NDP MLA Lois Moorcroft has called that number “hogwash.” She said Whistle Bend costs will likely be higher than those at Copper Ridge, because the new centre will offer more services, including a palliative care ward and a mental health ward. It’s not sufficient to estimate the costs of the new facility based on an old one, she argued.

In the legislative assembly, she questioned whether the government had provided an operations and maintenance estimate to the management board. Though she didn’t get a clear answer at the time, the government later released the new $26.9-million figure.

No explanation has been given as to the discrepancy between the two figures, or why it took so long to provide a clear answer to questions from the opposition parties.

However, the email from the Health Department did suggest it’s not unreasonable to think that operations and maintenance costs at the Whistle Bend facility will be similar to those at Copper Ridge.

“The new facility will have some economies of scale with it being a larger building,” it reads, “but will have some of the savings offset by more complex/expensive programming such as palliative care and mental health services.”

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