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Nelson Health Campus one step closer to reality — construction begins on 75 new publicly funded long-term care beds

Lone Sheep Publishing
By Lone Sheep Publishing
July 15th, 2022

Politicians, community partners and the public joined hands Friday afternoon across the street from the site of the new Nelson Health Campus to officially announced the construction of 75 new publicly funded long-term care beds.

The new facility will be built at the same location of the recently demolished Mount St. Francis Hospital at 903 Eleventh Street in Fairview.

The announcement concludes almost two years of meetings between the Ministry of Health, Interior Health, Columbia Basin Trust, Golden Life Management and the City of Nelson.

Doors on the Nelson Health Campus are slated to open in September of 2024.

"Moving this project forward puts the vision of the Nelson Health Campus one step closer to reality,” said Nelson Mayor John Dooley, who added during his speech that the push to replace Mount St. Francis started in the 1990s.

“This addresses the need for long-term care beds for Nelson and improves access to community services.”

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank all involved for keeping this much-needed facility front and centre,” Dooley added.

Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson was joined by Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Senior’s Services and Long-Term Care; Dr. Shallen Letwin, Vice-President for Interior Health Clinical Operations; Endre Lillejord of Golden Life Management; Suzan Hewat, chairperson for the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District; Jocelyn Carver, Board Chairperson for the Columbia Basin Trust; and Nelson nurse Colleen Driscoll.

“The pandemic exposed many inequities within our long-term care system,” said Elmore.

“Our priority is to ensure seniors have confidence that when they age, they can do so in dignity, in care homes that provide quality and comprehensive care. Today’s announcement represents another step forward in our efforts to ensure all seniors receive the care they deserve.”

Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Senior’s Services and Long-Term Care this announcement ensure all seniors receive the care they deserve. 

The long-term care building and the Nelson Health Campus will be located on the old Mount St. Francis hospital site, which was built in the 1940s and operated by the sisters of St. Ann. The hospital closed in 2005 and the deconstruction will be complete in July 2022. Interior Health consulted with the sisters of St. Ann, the local heritage community and the City of Nelson before deconstruction. Anything of historical importance was preserved.

“I am thrilled by the announcement of new long-term care homes and the Nelson Health Campus building in our community,” said Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston. “These projects will ensure expanded access to high-quality care for seniors in our community and is one more example of our government’s commitment to improving care for seniors in B.C.”

After a competitive bidding process, the contract to finance, build and own the new development was awarded to Mount St. Francis (CBT) Enterprises Ltd., a partnership between Columbia Basin Trust and Golden Life Management. Interior Health will lease and operate the facility.

The new long-term care building will feature a modern design and provide a warm and caring environment. The building features private bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, and dining and activity spaces for each small neighbourhood. Other amenities include secure outdoor courtyards and patios.

The new long-term care beds in Nelson are part of the provincial government’s investment to create 495 new beds in the Interior Health region. The remaining 420 long-term beds will be in Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops and Penticton. Interior Health issued five requests for proposals for the new long-term care beds in the five communities in July 2020.

Improving access to long-term care is part of the Province’s commitment to strengthen senior care and services across the B.C. Since 2017, the province has invested approximately $2 billion to improve care for seniors, including investments in primary care, home health, long-term care, assisted living and respite services.

Columbia Basin Trust Chairperson of the Board, Jocelyn Carver, spoke about the significant investment made to ensure seniors can get the proper services without having to leave the community.

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