Rose Garden Hospice to break ground in May

Daily Herald File Photo

The Rose Garden Hospice will break ground on May 15.

After more than a decade of fundraising and garnering support for the project, it’s time for construction to begin.

Construction is expected to last between one year and 18 months.

“We are very excited,” said board member Marina Mitchell.

Mitchell’s mother, Rose Daschuk, is the facility’s namesake. Daschuk battled with cancer, passing away in the hospital. That experience showed Mitchell and the Daschuk family the importance of a facility where people could receive patient-centred end-of-life care in a home-like environment that meets their physical, emotional, cultural and spiritual needs of the client, their family and their friends.

“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,” Mitchell said.

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.”

Construction of the ten-bed facility was originally slated to begin last spring, but the COVID-19 pandemic brought fundraising to a near halt. The hospice foundation has since found ways to continue fundraising, and a year later, can finally start construction.

 The pandemic wasn’t the only challenge they faced.

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.

Rose’s husband, Don Daschuk, 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 during a donation last month.

“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.

“This last year has been a year no one could predict,” Don said. “We just have to deal with the challenges as best we can. It’s a testament to everyone here that we’re sticking with it.”

“It’s very emotional at times.”

While construction is slated to start, that doesn’t mean that fundraising is over

“We are extremely thankful for the support we have received to date,” said board chair Cheryl Elliot in a statement.

“Our fundraising is well underway and has resulted in donations and pledges covering approximately half the amount required to construct and equip the hospice.”

Dozens have donated, big and small, including local business owner Malcolm Jenkins, who pledged $500,000 to the cause.

 The board also received its land as a donation from the late Fred Trach.

The board is seeking to raise $4 million. Mitchell teased a forthcoming large fundraiser that will get the community involved.

She also said annual events, such as the Hike for Hospice, will continue once the facility opens to cover equipment upgrades and other needs.

Operations will be funded by the provincial government, which has pledged to provide up to $2 million annually to run the hospice.