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‘Every little helps’ – Snowmobile rally for Avens expansion plan

A snowmobile rally in Yellowknife on Saturday will help to raise funds for a new seniors’ facility that remains $20 million short of its target.

Making Trax is an annual rally that supports seniors’ housing and care operator Avens, Yellowknife Search and Rescue, and the Great Slave Snowmobile Association.

Registration for the rally begins at 11am on Saturday, at the Air Tindi float base. The ride itself starts from the same location at 1pm. Tickets to take part cost $80.

An event featuring dinner, dancing and prizes takes place at the Elks Lodge from 6.30pm – which also provides a chance to get involved if you don’t own a snow machine.

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Avens is currently trying to find an eight-figure sum of money for a new building: the Avens Pavilion.

Read more: Avens’ donor page for its Pavilion project

The project is designed to take over from Aven Manor by providing 60 long-term care beds alongside much-needed palliative care facilities.

The cost is estimated at $28 million. While Avens has more than five dozen individual and corporate backers, the organization remains $20 million away from that figure.

Avens recently lost a substantial backer. Managers believe construction could still begin if a new backer can be found, which would help to secure a loan for the remaining amount.

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“The money (raised at Saturday’s rally) is being directed towards fundraising for that expansion project – much-needed new long-term care beds in the NWT,” Avens chief executive Jeff Renaud told Moose FM.

“Aven Manor, which is the original part of the campus, was first built and opened in 1987. It wasn’t designed for long-term care, so what we’re trying to do is replace the Aven Manor building and add some capacity for long-term care beds in the community.

“We’re hoping, too, that some of those beds will be palliative care, and also room for rehabilitation and step-down units.”

In a report on Friday, the Yellowknifer newspaper claimed only one palliative care bed is currently available in the territory.

“Avens is an incredibly important partner of ours and we are working with them closely to address the long-term care needs of our residents,” health minister Glen Abernethy told the paper.

“We have to do this recognizing the constrained fiscal environment and obviously, the best way to do this is working together with Avens on their Pavilion project to advance this work.”

Renaud believes events like Saturday’s rally can help the organization take small steps toward its eventual funding goal.

“Every little bit helps,” he said. “The community of Yellowknife has always been very generous in their support.”

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