Posted: 23-Oct-13

 $4.9-million tender awarded for Nakile expansion

By Tina Comeau

THE VANGUARD

www.thevanguard.ca

 

The adage, ‘All good things come to those who wait,’ now finally applies to the staff and residents, both current and future, at Nakile Home for Special Care.

On Wednesday, May 29, many years after the green light was initially given to an expansion of the seniors’ long-term care facility, a $4.9-million tender was awarded to Delmar Construction Ltd. for the construction of an addition that will see 12 beds added to the 35 long-term care beds, and one vacation bed, already at the facility.

It is expected the construction will get underway this summer.

Bertha Brannen, Nakile’s administrator, contracted the Vanguard newsroom on Thursday morning, May 30, to share the news of the tender. For Brannen, years of disbelief that this project would ever go ahead have now been replaced with relief and excitement.

“It’s just been such a long journey of disappointments back and forth, but it is a day to celebrate for us,” she said.

It has taken a lot of work and patience to reach this stage.

In 2009 a tender was first called for the project, which back then was to have been a 22-bed expansion. But the expansion stalled when the lowest tender submitted exceeded the budgeted amount by over $2 million. The province said it would not make up the gap in funding needed for the project to move forward and asked Nakile to consider a 12-bed expansion instead.

Or, the province suggested, Nakile could wait to see if there was left over money when other long-term care projects across the province were completed. But this came with no guarantees of funding. The only guarantee was that the project would see a lengthy delay.

Yet even with the eventual move to a 12-bed expansion, however, the delays went on.

And on, and on.

Last year the project had to go back to the drawing board when the design for 12 beds still came in over budget, mostly due to issues involving infrastructure like sewer and water.

Still, what never waned throughout the process was the commitment of the Nakile board and the team overseeing this project to see the expansion eventually break ground. Brannen says a new project manager, MHPM, created a new design-build approach for the project to bring the costs in line with the budget. While the design still meets all of the required codes and regulations, it doesn’t include all of the bells and whistles that an architect may want.

“So we’re not building a Cadillac, but we’re getting a new car,” said Brannen.

Nakile Home for Special Care opened in late 1989. By March 1990 it was full and that’s been the case ever since.

Brannen said they don’t know how many people are on a waiting list to get into the facility because they’re not responsible for processing admissions.

“All admissions are done through Kentville, but we do know that we never have empty beds whenever we have a vacancy. And we still continue to get a lot of requests from the community even though we’re not the ones who process the admissions,” she said. “So we know, unofficially, that there is a large wait list out there for Nakile. “

Brannen adds another good feature about the work to take place is it involves the addition of beds, whereas other long-term care construction projects in the area have been replacement facilities so their number of beds hasn’t increased.

Also, coming with the new beds at Nakile will be additional jobs.

“We’re very pleased that it is going to be creating more jobs, not just through the construction phase, but for people to be employed,” Brannen said. Nakile has a staff of 41.7 full-time equivalents. This number is expected to increase by seven positions with the expansion.

Three construction firms bid on the tender for the project. Brannen said the anticipated timeframe for the construction is 18 months.

She says while the work will be a distraction for residents, it won’t be a disruption.