End of an era
After years of uncertainty, the Kenwood is being demolished.
The building was purchased in 2013 by Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig (WNHAC), in anticipation of a provincial grant announcement that came in May of that year. The grant was intended to fund a renovation which would see the 15,000-square foot building become WNHAC’s central service location.
Developments adjacent to the site delayed progress on the project, and adverse weather events caused damage that affected feasibility of the planned renovations. Eventually demolishing the existing structure and building a new facility on a neighbouring site became the winning strategy.
“We’re just excited to be moving forward”, said WNHAC President, Kimberley Sandy-Kasprick who is also Chief of Northwest Angle 33 First Nation.
For more than four years, the project appeared to be stalled as the organization worked its way through the funding process, explored late-breaking opportunities, and strategized to overcome each new obstacle.
With the City of Kenora’s purchase the former mall property for parking and future development potential, an opportunity emerged to access a larger, rectangular lot that could better accommodate the new building, current parking requirements, and future expansion potential. “The City has been very supportive of our efforts,” said WNHAC Executive Director, Anita Cameron.
As work on the site begins, the face of Chipman Street will change again to reflect the City’s ongoing downtown improvement efforts. WNHAC is excited and proud to be a partner in this work, and one of many partners in recently initiated efforts toward an All Nations health care system in our area.
Established by Kenora-area First Nations, Metis, and Aboriginal organizations in 1998, Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig provides primary health care and related services to indigenous people in Kenora and the surrounding area. Last year, the organization provided care to almost 4,500 people, and logged almost 20,000 encounters. Related services and activities are carried out by health promoters and allied health professionals.
Demotion of the former Kenwood Hotel will begin in the next few weeks.