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Federal government prepared to support Cat Lake

By CJ Goater Mar 14, 2024 | 7:00 PM

Cat Lake is awaiting a long-term solution to housing their nursing station, and the federal government is ready to provide support.

Cat Lake’s nursing station burned down in a fire earlier this month forcing the community to operate the station out of their healing centre.

“The healing centre that the community has right now is under rapid retrofit, just to try to create a makeshift space for the nurses to operate in while we look for a more permanent solution or an interim solution,” explained Canada’s Federal Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hadju. “We’re doing that work with the province, to make sure that nurses have a place to work and patients have a place to go.”

The Federal government plans to deliver modular buildings to be used as a long-term interim nursing station until a new structure has been built. The question is how the temporary buildings will get there.

“The next step is to get the modular units up to the community, that will provide an interim solution for a nursing station that’s dedicated to that space so that the Community can get their healing centre back,” explained Hadju “We’re just waiting right now, the ice roads are a little bit unstable and the province has determined that they can’t be used right now during this warm period.”

There’s hope that the ice will freeze to a usable rate in the near future, and if that occurs the modular buildings will be delivered at that time.

When the new buildings arrive they will remain in place while the community prepares for the longer-term build of a permanent structure.

“Climate change is posing a huge risk to communities like Cat Lake, and all of the northern communities that require those ice roads to be open for a period of time to get things like infrastructure, materials, but also basic necessities into the community,” said Hadju “It’s very expensive and sometimes really logistically challenging to transport huge amounts of infrastructure, materials or other kinds of supplies by air.”

The federal government has already begun working on alternative options for if this year’s unseasonably warm winter continues.

“We will be working with Cat Lake on what this looks like if we can’t transport the modular units over the ice roads,” added Hadju.

Although the process of creating interim solutions is well underway, there is still no certainty on when a final new nursing station will be established.

“It’s really hard to put an exact date on it because there are many interplaying parts to this,” explained Hadju. “The community will want to make sure that the site that’s selected is the best site, (and) there’ll be feasibility studies and design studies done to make sure that whatever is designed is suitable for that site and can actually sustain that site long term.”

Although there are many hurdles to clear before another nursing station is established in the community, the federal and provincial governments are set to support the community to ensure sufficient health care is available to their citizens.