A damp, rainy day didn’t deter the excitement indoors at the grand opening of the Watrous District Health Complex on June 14, 2012. The official opening took place as more than 200 people watched on, thrilled that the day had finally arrived.

The new Manitou Lodge and Watrous District Health Complex
on opening day.

“This complex is a milestone for our province’s health care infrastructure renewal plan,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan told the crowd. In 2009 the province announced the replacement of 13 long term care homes in Saskatchewan. The Watrous District Health Complex, which is an expansion of the exiting Watrous Hospital and now houses the new Manitou Lodge, is the first of those projects to be completed.

The new Manitou Lodge has 43 long term care beds. The Complex is an integrated facility which also provides a wide range of health services including home care, public health, mental health and addiction services and therapies. It
has capacity for eight acute care patients and an emergency department.

“This morning is an important day for us all,” Cathy Spencer, Manager of Watrous District Health Complex told the audience. “The staff knows this isn’t just a place to work, it’s a place to care. We come to work to provide care to the residents of Manitou lodge and Watrous hospital. These residents are often our neighbours and our friends.” Spencer thanked the staff for their dedication to the residents, patients and clients.

Watrous Mayor Ed Collins attributed the successful local fundraising effort to the partnership of municipalities with the Watrous Community Health Foundation. Murray Westby, chair of the Foundation, says projects like this take a lot of time and have many ups and downs. “Perhaps all those years of waiting and preparation were a blessing in disguise. When our number did finally come up, we were in a financial position to proceed without delay.”

The project cost a total of $14.4 million. Residents from the old Manitou Lodge moved into their new homes in late June.