A $400,000 grant from the municipality has brought the Northern Lights Health Foundation’s (NLHF) Gratitude Campaign to its fundraising goal.
The funding, which comes from the Wood Buffalo Community Capital Grant fund, will help create the Minimally Invasive Surgical (MIS) Suites project at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.
Cindy Amerongen, executive director of the NLHF said the grant request marks the first time the health foundation has approached the municipality for funding.
“When the community grant information came out we could see that there was a fit, so we thought, ‘well we’re going to try it and we’ll see how council feels’ and they absolutely agreed. It was a unanimous vote.”
She notes that the community has made it clear that “nothing is more important than healthcare” and Mayor Don Scott agrees.
“Strong local health care is key to ensuring Wood Buffalo’s future as a vibrant, attractive and sustainable region. The RMWB recognizes the work of the Health Foundation in advancing health opportunities in our region and are proud to provide this capital grant in support of the creation of new surgical suites.”
The $6.3 million dollar project will upgrade the current four operating rooms, which could result in 500 more surgeries being done a year at the health centre.
Amerongen said that teams are currently working together to review four suppliers which will determine what construction needs to be done according to the technology, then project management will take care of budgeting and scheduling.
From there she said construction could take around eight months, but that could change since operating rooms can’t be worked on all at once.
In the end, she said it would take about two years for the project to be complete.
The Gratitude Campaign was launched at the Spring Fling Gala in 2016 and includes eight projects.