December 8, 2023

Department of Health says it has no plans for building; MLA says he will keep advocating for proposal

Community leaders in Naujaat want to see the old Repulse Bay Health Centre renovated and turned into a home for elders.

The building, located behind the Roman Catholic church and beside the new health centre, is in the perfect location to house elders who may otherwise have to leave the community for care, said Mayor Alan Robinson.

It’s vacant, damaged and mouldy, he said, but could be refurbished inside and built back up with eight rooms and an elevator.

“I would strip this building right back to her bare bones,” he said in an interview. “I wouldn’t touch the outside, but the inside I would completely gut it.

Some of the windows in the old health centre in Naujaat are smashed, letting in snow and rain. (Photo by David Venn)

“The way it is now, the building is left wide open for destruction, like a fire or whatever the case may be. And it’s absolutely shameful.”

The building — green, brown and red with smashed windows — sits across the street from where Aivilik MLA Solomon Malliki lives.

“It’s just sitting there, vacant,” Malliki said in an interview. “[It’s] doing nothing there, getting damage from snow or water.”

The building has a few apartments on the upstairs and six or seven offices downstairs, Malliki said, adding it’s a good size for an elders home.

Health Department spokesperson Danarae Sommerville said the department has no current plans to retrofit the old health centre into an elders home, but that “aging with dignity” is part of the GN’s mandate.

That includes supporting independent or assisted living for elders so fewer elders have to leave their home community, she said.

Malliki estimates there are at least six elders in the community who could potentially stay at an elders home if one were available.

He said he’s going to keep bringing it up to government officials and in the legislative assembly.

“I personally want the elders to stay home where they grew up or where they reside, not in a city or elsewhere. It would be a lot better for the elders and the families to be together whenever they want,” Malliki said.

Asina Angotingoar, a member of the hamlet council, said she wants to see a new building built to serve as an elders home, but thinks the old health centre would be a good option as well.

“It’s really hard when the elder has to go away for the elders home. It’s always hard to contact the person and it’s really hard for the family to send them away,” Angotingoar said.

“It always hurts the family.”


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