Stanton Legacy now expected to open by summer of 2023

The N.W.T. government says the opening of the Stanton Legacy building is – once again – just around the corner.

The yet-to-be-named Stanton Legacy project is an initiative to retrofit Yellowknife's old Stanton hospital building into a long-term care facility, complete with a primary care and rehab centre, 74 long-term care beds and 16 extended care beds.

Last November, Department of Infrastructure spokesperson James Ross said “the building is expected to be completed late 2022.” Before that, the word was fall 2022.

Now, the department says the new completion date is March this year – with the building opening in the summer.

"At this time, barring unforeseen circumstances, we anticipate a substantial completion date in spring 2023 and that the facility will be operational as early as summer 2023," said spokesperson Jennifer Lukas.

Lukas said "unforeseen issues such as shortages in the labour market" had affected the completion date.

When first announced, health minister Glen Abernethy said the project could be complete by 2021. Last summer, a subcontractor working at the site brought expressed concern about some aspects of construction, alleging safety hazards and bullying on the project.

The GNWT said at the time it was aware of the dispute between two parties connected to the project and said the former hospital is routinely inspected for health and safety concerns.

Lukas said the Department of Health and Social Services will take over the building once construction is complete. Work to "operationalize" the building is already under way.

"This includes maintenance and operational planning, procurement of furniture, fixtures and equipment, staff training, and planning for patient moves," she said. "Construction of the building is just one piece of the puzzle for any major infrastructure project."

Caitrin Pilkington, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio