By Wayne Litke
We went on a tour of Maple Creek’s new integrated health facility last week and I was totally blown away – absolutely amazed – by the entire facility. From the entrance with its massive pillars and wall of glass windows to the long-term care facilities, it is truly an impressive building.
It is also a state-of-the-art facility when it comes to technology, so I am sure there will be a few hiccups that will need to be worked out when the facility is put into use tomorrow. In fact, simply keeping the wiring sorted out must have been a major headache as there are enough wires and cables in the complex to run from the Old Cowtown to Newfoundland, back to British Columbia and then loop back to Maple Creek. That is a lot of wire for any building.
The big move to the new facility started yesterday and is continuing today. It should be open and operational tomorrow (Wed., June 17) and will undoubtedly take workers a while to settle in and develop an efficient routine.
I won’t repeat the information Marcia Love put in an extensive story about the features of the facility, but one point that really impresses me is the fact the structure has a pitched roof. I find it hard to believe that all past governments accepted designs for flat-roofed buildings such as hospitals and schools. If the roof of the old hospital had been constructed with an apex, it would likely still be in use and we would not have the awesome facility that replaced it. Therefore, I had better be careful what I wish for. I realize it costs more to build a pitched roof, but the potential for water and moisture problems and large maintenance bills are so much greater with a flat roof. In the case of the old Maple Creek hospital, it was water and moisture and mold that caused it’s sudden and unexpected closure a little more than one year ago.
Getting back to the present, I would not recommend faking a sickness in order to check out the new integrated health facility. However, be sure to check out the layout and features when visiting a hospital patient or resident in one of the long-term care facilities. You will want to make sure your feet are fitted with a good pair of walking shoes since the building is big – much bigger than I realized.
Speaking of big, southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan could certainly use a big – massive, but gentle – rain. The violent system that blew through the area last Friday dropped about half an inch of precipitation (according to our rain gauge) including some nasty hail. Thankfully, the white stuff did not last too long. Judging from the way robins were on a feeding frenzy after the storm, it appears as if the hail knocked caterpillars, and hopefully other pests such as aphids, off the trees in town. I never imagined hail could actually serve a useful purpose.
Speaking of useful, the subject of criminal record checks has been receiving a lot of media attention since the arrest and prosecution of Ryan Chamberlin. Unfortunately, people such as Chamberlin and Graham James know how to manipulate people (adults and youth) and have been able to dodge record checks by taking advantage of people’s trust, especially in small centers. I totally agree record checks are very important when it comes to working with youth or being in a position of trust, but they can have a downside.
For example, I know of people who have wanted to volunteer, but could not because a record check revealed they had a conviction for a minor offense somewhere in their past. For a person who had an impaired charge 20 years previous, that is sufficient to deem them a hazard according to the rules of some organizations. The fact the individual’s record was otherwise clean made no difference to the organization and that is where the problem lies.
If a person makes one bad decision in their young adult years and is found guilty of a relatively minor offense, that should not immediately brand the individual as being a risk when it comes to volunteering or working with youth. However, to avoid possible litigation, organizations will often reject anyone who is known to have a criminal record, even if it is for a minor infraction. This also holds true for some employers.
I believe the only way a volunteer convicted of a criminal offense can be accepted into an organization with a stringent criminal record policy is by first requesting a pardon. It costs a few dollars and takes time . . . and there are no guarantees. If there is another way, please fill me in. Safeguarding youth and protecting them from pedophiles is a very important task, so I cannot see an organization at any level relaxing or breaking their rules in order to accommodate any volunteer, no matter how great or qualified the person is. It’s a sad sign of the times we live in.