Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

There was a media tour of the new Whistle Bend Place Tuesday afternoon. The continuing care building is massive with large views and open spaces inside.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Plant manager Grant Blackler stands beside the new complex.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Nancy Kidd, director of the Whistle Bend continuing care facility, talks about the lift system in Whistle Bend Place.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

The washrooms have no bathtubs. Instead, there will be a communal bathtub in each wing.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Workers are seen Tuesday in the building.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

COMFORTABLE PLACE – Director Nancy Kidd, left, says the facility is designed to provide a comfortable setting not only for the residents but visiting family members as well. Right Grant Blackler.

Facility called crucial to Yukon’s well-being

When Nancy Kidd speaks about the new continuing care facility in Whistle Bend, it’s with enthusiasm.

By Chuck Tobin on August 30, 2017

When Nancy Kidd speaks about the new continuing care facility in Whistle Bend, it’s with enthusiasm.

It will relieve the relentless pressure on the use of acute care hospital beds for non-acute patients while providing for Yukoners unable to live on their own anymore, she explains during a media tour Tuesday.

Kidd says the new facility – officially named Whistle Bend Place – is designed to provide a comfortable setting not only for the residents but visiting family members as well.

While 120 of the 150 beds are for those with less critical needs, there will be 18 beds in the hospice wing for residents living out their final days.

Another 12 beds will be available in the secure wing for patients requiring specific mental health care.

The hospice wing is not scheduled to open until 2019, followed a year later in 2020 by the mental health wing.

Whistle Bend Place is state-of-the-art, designed to be open and comfortable, says Kidd, director of the facility for the Department of Health and Social Services.

Her enthusiasm does not wane during the hour-long walk through what is still very much a construction zone.

“A year from now, our team and I will be making the beds and getting ready for admissions that will start next September,” she says. “It’s a really exciting time.

“Here we plan to offer a continuum of care, end-of-life care, as well as long-term health care.”

Project manager Grant Blackler of PCL Construction, the company building Whistle Bend Place, says there are anywhere from 150 to 160 workers on site at anyone time, 70 per cent of whom he estimates to be local.

The number is likely to rise to between 180 and 200 as they move onto the interior finishing work – electrical, drywall, plumbing, flooring....

Blackler says the schedule calls for having the building completely closed in by mid-October.

Frost in the ground that caused some heaving and delays earlier this year is gone and the ground has stabilized, but monitoring will continue, he says.

Substantial completion of the construction contract is scheduled for April 7.

Yukon government engineer Jennifer Macgillivray says change orders in the project have bumped up PCL’s original construction contract from $114 million to over $120 million.

The increase will be covered by the contingency fund built into the budget and will not affect the overall project cost of $148.7 million, she says.

As the walk-through begins, Kidd stops to describe how the main entrance is designed to provide a welcoming atmosphere.

The vehicle-pull up will be covered. Huge logs shipped up from Powell River, B.C. form part of the roof structure on the entrance.

Visitors will be met with a warming fireplace, and open space where residents are free to come and go, and free to hang out on the furniture that will be provided for that very purpose.

Large open spaces not far off from the entrance are nothing more than a maze of steel wall studs now.

They’ll eventually offer community space for various functions, perhaps film nights or performances by musicians for the residents.

“We need to have a nice big space so we can have a Christmas dance.”

The open space concept is maintained throughout the facility. The individual rooms are comfortably spacious, with equally spacious bathrooms.

Kidd explains 120 regular beds will be divided into five pods or “houses” of 24 beds each.

Now that the facility has been officially named, each house will also be named – but by the residents after they move in.

Each house will have access to an outside area, a court yard for those on the main floor and a large open balcony space for those on the second floor.

Each house will have an open space to serve as a living room and one to serve as a dining area.

Each will have kitchen facilities. While the bulk of meals will be provided by the main kitchen in the ground floor and delivered in one of the three elevators, residents will have the ability to prepare small meals and snacks in their own house.

Rooms and their bathrooms are all equipped with lifts that can be attached to ceiling tracks so staff can assist residents in any corner of the room or bathroom.

Each of the houses will have four or five rooms outfitted with features you’d expect to see in an acute care hospital room, like a built in oxygen supply.

Each patient, says Kidd, will have a device, either on a bracelet or attached to their wheelchair, that allows staff to check in and see where they are if need be.

“This is the Yukon, and this needs to be a meaningful place for Yukoners,” says Kidd.

She points out names on the wait list for long-term care beds currently fluctuate between 65 and 95, and the number of acute care hospital beds taken up by non-acute long-term care patients runs between 16 and 22.

Whistle Bend Place, she is sure, will offer its residents comfort while bringing relief to the territory’s health care system.

“This facility is crucial for the well-being of all the territory,” says Kidd.

PCL Construction will host an open house and tours of the facility on Sept. 9.

The Liberal government has said it will not follow through on the former Yukon Party regime’s plan to eventually double the size of the facility to 300 beds.

Comments (17)

Up 0 Down 0

Glenn Mann on Jul 16, 2018 at 12:17 pm

What a modern facility! People shouldn't complain but be proud of what you have! I find more people complaining and whining about things instead of going to open and public meetings and voicing there opinions without doing the research! People get a life! Is there other options that may meet your needs! If not come South and see what Senior Care Facilities cost now-a-days! I could add more but I'm frustrated at what I read! The negativity and greed!

Up 13 Down 0

Miles Ocean on Sep 2, 2017 at 3:33 pm

I am not fond of the site but do think it's time to add many more beds.
Even as WB grows the continuing care facility will be somewhat isolated. I say run the trolley summer and winter and let the people have access to the library.

Up 16 Down 11

Dave on Sep 2, 2017 at 8:14 am

The entire territory and especially people who will require this facility are fortunate to have such a caring, dedicated person as Nancy Kidd spearheading this project. If there is one person on earth who genuinely cares about the well being of care home residents it's Nancy, I can only hope that I'm lucky enough to have Nancy or someone with her qualities in charge of my care home when I require one. Anyone writing negative comments on here regarding her obviously does not know her and needs to keep thier uninformed opinions to themselves, criticise the project all you want but don't be putting down a very wonderful person.

Up 15 Down 10

Fake news on Sep 1, 2017 at 2:50 pm

@Nile "shows the Liberals lack of planning. "

Ahhhh very Trumpesque revision history there old chap! WBP was conceived, planned, tendered and construction began all under the banner of your beloved YP. When the Libs came to power the momentum on this project was unstoppable.

Maybe go back and review the projected cost for the new WCC under Duncan's regime and look at the final price after Fentie hit the reset. For that alone you should be ashamed. While you're at it maybe check up on the $36.5 Million the YP lost in the asset-backed commercial paper fiasco.

Up 20 Down 8

Tina R on Sep 1, 2017 at 10:41 am

Yukon Max - by the time you get to this comfortable 'warehouse' you probably won't know where you are or be able to 'check yourself out'. Unfortunately, many of our seniors suffer from some sort of dementia and need a comfortable place to live that has 24/7 supervision and that isn't a hospital ward. I believe that Whistle Bend Place is going to fill a huge demand in the Yukon and is designed to address personal preferences and needs so residents will feel at home as best they can. A lot of care and thought has gone into the plans.

To ProScience Greenie - Who knows - Nancy Kidd just might be there helping to make beds. People that are hands on in the design and building tend to go the full distance and take a lot of pride in their work.

Up 14 Down 12

Yukon Watchdog on Aug 31, 2017 at 8:27 pm

June Jackson, I love reading your comments. You are down to earth and you have obviously watched the gravy train going by again and again and again and again powered by your tax dollar with few benefits landing on your doorstep. Please keep your comments coming. They are not negative in my view; they are realistic and reflect exactly what happens in this government town.

Up 12 Down 4

Charles on Aug 31, 2017 at 6:16 pm

@ many: Too late for complaining; WBP is under construction. All we can hope for is that the dream doesn't turn into a sink hole nightmare. YM: none of us know what the future holds for us. PSG: The logistics of small facilities in communities don't fly as Nile said. Drum & Anie: The 1 year residency is standard across Canada, but I think YT could set their own limit. I have no problem with people wanting family close, but I do have a problem with people who only bring relatives here because it is cheaper. I am also happy that the 2nd story for an extra 150 beds has been squashed. I seem to remember initially that the plan was for 3 stories. That would be an institution, and residents not on ground level would be disposable if there was a fire and elevators could not be used.

Up 8 Down 12

Would Yukoners want their love ones go to Vancouver instead of staying in the Yukon? on Aug 31, 2017 at 4:46 pm

As a project manager, I have worked on projects like this. We don't have the facilities for more seniors who want to stay in the Yukon with their families. We had the Yukon Party Government spend more money during their years in office on social programs and now the liberal government will take the social spending away from Yukoners.
WE need a new women's shelter built, more seniors centers in the communities, better doctor care, more social housing, etc. Now is on the planning for this government.
Wilf Carter

Up 9 Down 5

June Jackson on Aug 31, 2017 at 4:44 pm

To Mike: Thank you so much for following my posts! I didn't think I had any fans at all! There's a positive comment for you!

Up 19 Down 18

YukonMax on Aug 31, 2017 at 3:23 pm

No way...I'll check myself out before I end up in this warehouse.

Up 37 Down 9

Anie on Aug 31, 2017 at 3:07 pm

There are people who will complain about every government initiative. Read the story, folks. Go to the open house. Check out (egads) what's good about this sort of facility. We cannot afford the silly notion of small facilities all over the place. A large facility, set up in smaller "pods " , and as described in this article, is the solution that will provide the best care. We had a family member in such a system for a long time and the over riding principle behind every decision relayed to her care was "this is her home".
As to the selfish on their "yukoners only" high horse, the rest of Canada have paid for our lives in the Yukon - northerners are probably the most subsidized citizens in Canada - so where the heck do you get the ego to say those Canadians cannot come and live near loved ones in their senior years? If you find yourself moving closer to family when you retire, would you expect that province to say "not welcome here in your senior years"? Get over yourselves

Up 35 Down 6

Nile on Aug 31, 2017 at 12:38 pm

@PSG in a perfect world. Yes it would be nice to have had smaller facilities in the communities. But there is a misconception about these facilities. To put it bluntly this is where you go to die. It needs to be close to medical facilities like WGH. It's just not feasible to build them in the communities. The services just aren't there. You also need to staff them. We can't keep community nurses. How could we ever hope to staff a whole continuing care facility? It sucks but 80 percent of Yukon's population lives in or near Whitehorse. It's the only logical place to have it. This unfortunately, also shows the Liberals lack of planning. They said whatever they needed to win the election with no though or plan for after.

Up 30 Down 13

Mike H on Aug 31, 2017 at 11:52 am

June Jackson. I find it odd that you complain about absolutely everything. Not once have I seen a positive comment made by you.

Have you actually ever been to Whistle Bend? It's a rapidly growing community and will eventually be 8,000 people likely the largest neighbourhoods in Whitehorse. The homes are modern and many of them are Green or Super Green. Within a year or two the commercial area will be developed and it will be a great place to live and raise a family. It may do you some good to move into a new bustling neighbourhood with a positive attitude.

Up 9 Down 27

June Jackson on Aug 30, 2017 at 8:42 pm

Nancy Kidd can be very enthusiastic about this sinking in the sand facility..she's paid in the way over 125,000. Mark..And is never going to be stuck in it. This needs to be a meaningful place for Yukoners..yup..but it isn't is it? The only good news is that the Liberals aren't going to expand it...yet..but that wouldn't be the first thing they said that didn't happen..

Up 21 Down 3

So...what's next on Aug 30, 2017 at 8:00 pm

Does the current government have any vision or idea on how to deal with the increasing demands in senior and palliative care? I know they made some vague promises during the election but do they have a plan for the future?

Up 36 Down 8

DRUM on Aug 30, 2017 at 7:59 pm

With lots of people here bringing their old people up to the Yukon from the south because of the benefits that we have here for seniors why is the current Government not looking at extending to 300 beds - or are they going to have a better system. For instance you have to have been a taxpayer in the Yukon or have to live here for at least 5 years before you qualify for Senior Housing or Extended Care facilities! These facilities should be for Yukoners only. That way we would not have to keep making them bigger.

Up 18 Down 25

ProScience Greenie on Aug 30, 2017 at 5:38 pm

Lol, like Kidd and other management types will be making beds.

Too bad the gravy for this wasn't spread out for small facilities in the communities rather than all in Whitehorse. It's better when our elders can be with friends and family where the come from.

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