No one lives there yet, but the kitchen is fully stocked with bananas and packages of Dad’s oatmeal cookies. There’s a copy of Atlas Shrugged on a nightstand here, and knitting needles laid out there.
That’s because, according to Karen Chan, assistant deputy minister with health and social services, there are only “odds and sods” left to chip away at before residents move into Whistle Bend Place this October.
The $146.6-million continuing care facility held a grand opening on Sept. 12, welcoming members of the community for cake, questions and tours of the building.
Outside the brightly-coloured building, cars lined Olive May Way at 1 p.m. Inside, one of the building’s many communal rooms was packed with Whitehorse residents as premier Sandy Silver gave a speech, calling Whistle Bend “one of the largest capital projects in Yukon history.”
The build, which spanned two governments (ground was broken in 2016, when the Yukon Party was in power), measures 19,000 square meters. It has 150 beds, and more than 700 rooms, including in-house gyms, a devotion room and family meeting rooms.
The lighting inside is ambient. Nurse call lights are designed to look like decorative wall sconces. Hallways are colour-coded to cue residents about which of the building’s five 24-bed houses they’re in (there is also a complex behaviour house with 12 beds and a hospice house with 18 beds).
Amenities on each floor include nursing stations, common areas with fireplaces, activity rooms, walk-in showers, and larger rooms for bariatric (overweight) patients. There are also planter boxes on balconies, where residents can garden in the summer.
It is, stressed Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis and Kristina Kane, chief of the Ta’an Kwach’an Council, a home.
“Home is a place to grow with dignity,” said Kane. “A place to experience safety ad to be part of community.”
She told guests that’s what Whistle Bend felt like, and that TKC is proud to be part of that integration, and proud for its River Bend facility (located adjacent to Whistle Bend) to be a neighbour.
Residents will begin moving into the facility in October. Whistle Bend will employ 250 staff, roughly 180 of which are Yukon hires, most of which are professional positions.
The opening of the facility will take pressure off of Yukon hospitals, and allow for the closure of the Macaulay Lodge facility, which is outdated.
Contact Amy Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org