The Whistle Bend Continuing Care Facility photographed in Whitehorse on July 17, is expected to open in October. The facility is hosting a grand opening, with tours, on Sept. 12. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Whistle Bend continuing care facility ready for the public to have a look

Some new staff will have to stay in hotels while they try and find housing

Some Outside staff at the new Whistle Bend Continuing Care facility will be living in hotels when they arrive in Whitehorse this fall.

The facility, which opened for public tours on Sept. 12, is bringing in just under half of its 250 new employees from Outside. In July of this year, the Yukon government was posting internally, asking existing employees if they had space for incoming staffers.

“We did a reach out to our own staff inside the department and some people have come forward with rooms that might be available,” said Karen Chan, assistant deputy minister with health and social services.

She said the department has also come to an agreement with three hotels in town, to offer rooms from now through to the spring if necessary.

These include the Elite Hotel, the Westmark Hotel, and the Days Inn.

Management at the Westmark and Days Inn didn’t respond to calls in time for today’s paper, but staff at the Elite said that after Sept. 15, 20 rooms will be available for Whistle Bend staff, at a discounted rate of $890 a month. This applies to rooms with two queen beds, and includes wifi and weekly housekeeping.

Chan said short-term accommodations like this will give allow newcomers to get to know the city before deciding which neighbourhood they want to live in.

She said roughly 30 new staff have already arrived in Whitehorse (approximately 70 per cent have been hired at this point), and more are coming every week.

While Whistle Bend doesn’t open until late October, there’s a significant amount of training for everyone around policies and procedures, said Chan. This includes four days of training and two full rotational shifts.

Some have done this training and are working in facilities including Birch Lodge, Copper Ridge Place, Thomson Centre and Macaulay Lodge, so they’ll be ready when residents start moving in during October.

Chan said this will happen at the rate of three or four a day.

“It will be gradual. We’ll start with people from the hospital and communities who are in need of the services and then we’ll move them in gradually. We won’t be rushing because we want to spend time with each individual and with each family,” she said.

Not only will that allow staff to get to know people on a personal level, it will help with practicalities including setting up medications at the onsite pharmacy, and establishing their needs in terms of what they want to do at the facility.

Chan said there are gardens, a coffee shop, a gym, a salon, a devotion room, a healing lodge, a craft room, woodworking opportunities, and more.

There are also two separate kitchens, including one specifically for the preparation of wild game.

Chan said there are a few touch-ups before the facility opens (“there’s a paint chip here or something has to be glued there,” she said), but for the most part, it’s ready to go.

She said previous issues, including cracking drywall and sinks that wouldn’t drain properly, are no longer a problem as far as she knows, but that that kind of thing falls under the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works.

The department did not respond to questions in time for today’s paper.

The News has reported on previous issues including in 2017, when PCL Construction halted work due to shifting after spring frost heaves, and in 2016, when groundwater and drainage issues led to changes to the property’s parking garage.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

Whistle Bend

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Oct. 21. Elected officials in the Yukon, including all 19 members of the legislature, are backing the right of Mi’kmaq fishers on the East Coast to launch a moderate livelihood fishery. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)
Yukon legislature passes motion to support Mi’kmaw fishery

“It’s not easy, but it’s also necessary for us to have these very difficult conversations”

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Most Read