Progress is being made toward a brand new assisted living care facility in Watson to replace the aging Quill Plains Centennial Lodge. Following the provincial budget announcement in 2021 that Watson would see funding for the project, the Quill Plains Health Care Foundation has been steadily working towards their fundraising commitments. Now, following a tour by government and health officials that happened on June 2, the project has a green light to enter phase one where further planning will lead to architectural drawings to guide the development. 

It’s been a long time coming, says Watson’s Mayor Norma Weber. The group became active in 2016 when it sought support from over 20 urban and rural municipalities traditionally served by the Lodge. In 2017, the organization received charitable status and was able to collect funds.

“We have three different areas in our lodge,” Weber explains. “The first part was built in 1967; it was built for Level 2, people who are mobile. The next wings came in 1969 and 1971, and then the Health Care Centre came in 1987.”

Weber says an assessment study done to plan renovations to the west wing and relocate the laundry led to the decision, announced in the 2021 budget, to replace the entire facility. The decision was partly based on the need for renovations and a new up-to-date air exchange system throughout the entire building. 

Norma WeberWatson Mayor Norma Weber pictured at fundraising event for Quill Plains Health Care Foundation during Spring Into Watson. 

The 53 bed facility covers the needs for approximately 25 urban and rural RMs, so the Watson facility is critical from both the standpoints of residents and employees who work in the Lodge. 

The Foundation is committed to raising a portion of the funds for the planning and construction, and Weber explains there are different approaches to generate the necessary dollars. 

“We have commitment forms where you can pledge money and pay as it works for you or you can simply make donations to the Quill Plains Health Care Foundation. We have about $650,000 in cash donations, and we have about $1.2 million in commitments. We are asking for very generous support to make all this happen.”

The visit on June 2 puts the project officially into Stage 1, the very initial planning stages. Weber notes that health care and government officials will consult with local interests to determine relative size of the new facility, whether the Health Care building will be replaced, how much land will be required, the ultimate location, and the eventual design. Those determinations will play a factor in the ultimate projected cost. 

Weber says the absolutely best case scenario for a startup to construction would be in two years. 

“We can hope for two years, but at least we have a timeline now.”

The Foundation’s goal, as stated on their website, is to raise $2.2 million. For more information and to find out how to contribute, please connect with