Development permit for Rose Garden Hospice on Tuesday’s council agenda

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One of the next major steps for the Rose Garden Hospice is on the city council agenda Tuesday.

During Tuesday’s meeting, council will consider a development permit application for the hospice, located at 500 38 Street West. The hospice would need any development permits passed before they can begin construction. The board has indicated they intend to begin building the long-awaited facility this year. According to the development permit, the facility will provide end-of-life care for up to ten patients, and will have up to eight staff members on-site at a time. It will be accessed from 38th Street and a large green space is proposed along marquis Road.

An extension of 38th Street to the hospice, in attached diagrams, is named Trach Trail, after the late Fred Trach, who donated the land the proposed hospice is set to be located on.

In their report, city staff say additional information is required for the site plan, but it’s minor and will not affect the proposed development. They also said they are still in discussions regarding servicing costs and other fees with the hospice.

The hospice is named after the late Rose Daschuk, who passed away in hospital after a battle with cancer. Her family, including her husband Don, has been advocating and raising money for 12 years in the hopes of building a hospice to provide a better quality of end-of-life care.

The Hospice Foundation announced plans to break ground in April, and said construction is expected to last between a year to 18 months.

In April,Rose’s daughter, Marina Mitchell, said “the day that we as a board agreed to accept all bids and see the project move forward was a very emotional day for us.”

In a written statement, Mitchell said that since the journey started in 2007, there have been many ups and downs.

“Nothing comes easy,” she said.

“We are beyond thrilled that we are starting to build. We could not have come this far without the support of our families, board members, community members, volunteers and our government. This dream WILL BE a reality.”

The project accelerated in February of 2019, when local Philanthropist Malcolm Jenkins pledged $500,000 towards the project and the province announced it would provide up to $2 million per year to operate the facility.

Don, speaking to reporters during a $20,000 contribution from Prakash Consulting in March, said the process has been “very emotional at times.

“I did not realize this project would be so challenging. Over time, as we seem like we’re getting close, the goalpost seems to move on us. This time, COVID has really thrown some curves at us. It’s a testament to everyone here that we’re sticking with it

The plan was to get shovels in the ground last year, but then the pandemic hit, and fundraising slowed.

Now, though, the board has raised over $2.6 million, and intends to start construction as soon as the ground thaws.

But there was another catch — since going out to tender, costs had dramatically risen. OSB sheeting for the outside of the building went from $9.05 pre-COVID to $41.75 per sheet now — a 371 per cent increase.

Studs went up too — a major cost of construction tripling in price.

Don, who leads the building committee, isn’t giving up.

The committee had the building redesigned, taking out the basement and simplifying the design to make it simpler and cheaper to build.

“Wherever we could cut — any of the extras that could be added later we did,” Don said.

“We wanted our building to have good bones and function for us.”

He added that their board is now appealing to manufacturers of lumber and OSB to see if anyone can help them out with a donation or cheaper supplies to help bring down the cost of construction.

Fundraising for the remaining $2.2 million is ongoing.