Construction of Nunavik’s new treatment centre to start this summer
Work was set to begin in 2020 but delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions
Construction of Kuujjuaq’s Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre will go ahead this summer after COVID-19-related restrictions delayed that work in 2020, project backers announced this week.
Work on the new treatment centre was set to begin last summer but was postponed due to a decision by the Northern Village of Kuujjuaq to limit the number of out-of-region workers coming into the community due to COVID-19.
In 2020, Nunavik communities opted to allow construction companies to undertake only certain essential projects across the region.
But on March 3, Kuujjuaq’s municipal council voted to authorize major construction projects this year, including the recovery centre, Isuarsivik said in a Tuesday news release.
“We will be ready to start the preparation work to lay out the foundation of the new facility as soon as the snow will have melted,” said Isuarsivik president Dave Forrest in the release.
“Our project team is currently finishing up the planning of the construction season.”
Isuarsivik has been operating in Kuujjuaq since 1994, offering addictions recovery programming for people across Nunavik. In its current form, the centre hosts nine people at a time for six-week sessions.
With more than $40 million secured last year from the federal, provincial and regional governments, Isuarsivik is positioned to more than double its capacity in a new 22-bed facility, offering a family-focused recovery program.
Construction of an access road to the building site as well as separate staff housing units already began in 2019.
Work can begin as soon as possible this year since equipment and building materials were already shipped to Kuujjuaq in 2020.
Quebec firm Constructions Pépin-Fortin is overseeing the project and will be required to adhere to whatever public health requirements are in place for out-of-region workers.
The work is scheduled to take two summers, to be completed in fall 2022.
The centre hasn’t just faced construction delays; COVID-19 restrictions also forced Isuarsivik’s existing program to close its in-patient services for almost a year.
The centre just offered its first treatment cycle to women in early 2021 and will launch its first men’s session starting April 21.
Barring any further outbreak, Isuarsivik plans to offer an additional three treatment cycles this year, the centre said.
“It is a great relief to know that the project won’t be further delayed because we know that many are suffering while they wait to access the new family services that will be offered at the new centre,” said Mary Aitchison, Isuarsivik’s vice-president.