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Riverside waits on hospital plan approval

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Riverside Health Care Facilities Inc. is still waiting approval of its plans for renovations at the Emo hospital submitted in early April.

“We’re hoping to get the letter from the ministry [of Long-Term Care] this week,” CEO Wayne Woods noted Tuesday. “Then we’ll be going out for tender as soon as possible.”

Woods said he would like to see work begin by June, and be completed within the estimated six-month timeframe so as to be done by year’s end.

Budgeted at $2.5 million, the actual cost of renovations won’t be known until after the tendering process.

A search for pre-qualified contractors began April 4 but Woods said he wasn’t sure how many responses have been received.

Meanwhile, Woods said plans for more renovations at La Verendrye hospital here are “a ways away.”

“We most likely won’t have those approved until early fall,” he remarked.

In related news, there’s nothing new to report on efforts to get a satellite dialysis unit at La Verendrye.

Although Indian Affairs and Northern Development minister Robert Nault told a BIA meeting here April 14 that Ottawa would kick in $500,000 for the $1-million unit, Rainy River First Nation Chief Jim Leonard said he has not heard from Nault since.

“There’s nothing confirmed at this point,” he noted.

The Aboriginal Dialysis Acquisition Drive has raised $413,000 so far for the unit, and plans to reach the $500,000 mark soon.

“We are continuing to have meetings, and we’re getting ready to do something more, but I can’t say just what yet,” Chief Leonard said.

Riverside and the acquisition drive committee are slated to meet within the next week or so, after which time Chief Leonard said there likely would be more to report.

Woods noted Riverside still was waiting to see if it could uphold its end of the deal and provide the $500,000 in funding to cover the unit’s annual operating costs.

“The Minister of Finance [set a budget yesterday], and we’re hoping something will fall from that,” he said. “I guess we’ll keep our ear to the ground and hear what comes down from Toronto.”

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