Price­less life­styles lost

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

“Not one mil­lion dol­lars. Not two mil­lion. But five mil­lion dol­lars.”

The younger gen­er­a­tion can be for­given, if that old line does not ring a bell.

But for those who can re­mem­ber Joey in his hey­day, it should bring back some mem­o­ries of an­other time.

Our first premier af­ter Con­fed­er­a­tion trot­ted it out ev­ery time he was an­nounc­ing a grand new mega-pro­ject that cost mil­lions of tax­pay­ers’ dol­lars. Of course, the fact the money was com­ing from tax­pay­ers’ pock­ets was con­ve­niently for­got­ten when the piper (premier) was call­ing the tune.

Imag­ine if Joey only had had the oil mega-bucks Kathy Dun­derdale and com­pany have to­day to spend on megapro­jects.

The $108-mil­lion long-term care fa­cil­ity go­ing up in Car­bon­ear is a prime ex­am­ple.

It’s not hard to pic­ture Joey shout­ing from the rooftop of the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal. This brand new longterm care fa­cil­ity will cost “not ten mil­lion, not twenty mil­lion, but 108 mil­lion dol­lars.”

At the risk of sound­ing like Joey, the new long-term care fa­cil­ity is cost­ing 10 times the $11 mil­lion the hos­pi­tal cost to build in the late 1970s, mak­ing it the largest sin­gle con­struc­tion pro­ject of its kind ever seen in the area.

As site prepa­ra­tion work kicks up the dust and ten­ders are called for other phases of this mas­sive pro­ject, the south­side of Car­bon­ear has be­come a bee­hive of ac­tiv­ity.

Mean­while, on the other side of town, site prepa­ra­tion is near­ing com­ple­tion and ten­ders have been called for the main build­ing, which will house a new el­e­men­tary school. That pro­ject is ex­pected to run at least $15 mil­lion, if not closer to $20 mil­lion by the time all the bills have been paid.

In Har­bour Grace, mean­while, work con­tin­ues on a multi-mil­lion wa­ter/sewer, and long over­due road up­grad­ing and paving of Harvey Street.

All of this must be a tough pill to swal­low for those naysay­ers, who would like you to be­lieve there is noth­ing go­ing on in the district.

And with just over three months to go be­fore we head to the polls in a pro­vin­cial gen­eral elec­tion, it’s dif­fi­cult not to have some sym­pa­thy for op­po­si­tion par­ties in their quest for sac­ri­fi­cial lambs to run against Jerome Kennedy.

These projects are cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment and boost­ing the lo­cal econ­omy. And for the most part, af­ter they are up and run­ning, they will con­tinue to do so.

It’s all pos­i­tive and good stuff. Un­der the cir­cum­stances, one might be hard pressed to find any down­side to any of it.

The new long-term care fa­cil­ity is gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse to look­ing af­ter our aging pop­u­la­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Jerome Kennedy, “it will in­clude space for re­cre­ation, ther­apy, phys­io­ther­apy, oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy and spir­i­tu­al­ity.” It all sounds won­der­ful grand. It’s just the sheer size of this mas­sive in­sti­tu­tion — re­plac­ing three smaller ones — that is a lit­tle dis­con­cert­ing.

For all the bells and whis­tles these state-of-the art, topof-the line, cut­ting edge in­sti­tu­tions have to of­fer, there is one loss for which they can­not com­pen­sate. That is a per­son’s in­di­vid­u­al­ity and in­de­pen­dence. And the big­ger these in­sti­tu­tions are the colder and more im­per­sonal they be­come, no mat­ter how warm and car­ing staff may be.

Loss of in­de­pen­dence and in­di­vid­u­al­ity is per­haps the big­gest price peo­ple pay when age takes its toll and they are no longer able to care for them­selves, and fam­i­lies are un­able to pro­vide the care they need.

In­de­pen­dence and in­di­vid­u­al­ity are price­less life­styles that can­not be du­pli­cated in such in­sti­tu­tions. They can’t be pur­chased, not even for $108 mil­lion.

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