Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
June 20, 2024
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Big Plans

H.J. McFarland Memorial Home renovation funding bid wins preliminary approval from the Ministry of Long Term Care
<p>Prince Edward County Long Term Care Redevelopment Site Plan</p>
Prince Edward County Long Term Care Redevelopment Site Plan

The Committee of the Whole voted last week to move ahead with a $94.7 million renovation and expansion of the County’s long-term care home.

Built in 1974 and at the end of its original service life, the 84 bed home is planning an expansion for 76 new beds — and a move up from its current Class C designation to Class A.

“The municipality met with the ministry on May 2, and received positive feedback,” Director Kyle Cotton told Council. “The Ministry will be forwarding a letter approving the preliminary plans and indicating that we can now move forward to the next phase of the project.” 

Without provincial funds, the County cannot move ahead with the long-awaited expansion. 

Not moving forward puts the Municipal Operating License at risk. It will expire when the Ministry phases out all “Class C” beds by the end of 2024. Every municipality is mandated to operate a long-term care home.

Of the total estimated project cost, a third, or $31.5 million, is eligible for a time-limited provincial Construction Funding Subsidy (CFS). 

Staff are confident the renovation could be in line for a further $29.2 million in provincial grants and subsidies. If sustainable options are incorporated into the designs, the municipality could  apply for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Fund. 

CFS Top Up funding is contingent on meeting a strict set of provincial milestones by November 7. Detailed designs, Infrastructure Ontario loan pre-approvals, tendering paperwork — all must be ready to go. 

“We are eligible for funding provided we meet the milestones,” CAO Marcia Wallace. “If we meet the milestones, we get the money.”

The CAO added the only money the municipality would need to spend between now and November will be on design costs.

“With Council support, we can make our application to Infrastructure Ontario,” said Ms. Wallace. “We need something that shows that Council wants this home or we can’t apply for financing,” she added.

The municipality must shoulder a third of the cost, about $33.7 million, with a long-term loan. Payments could reach $6 million per year and require an increase to the tax levy, phased in to 2027, the projected occupancy date. That date coincides with the fulfillment of the Municipal obligation to the PECM Hospital build.

This was enough to make a number of Councillors balk. 

In the recorded 8-5 vote to approve the plan, Councillors Prinzen, Pennell, Engelsdorfer, Harrison and Braney were opposed. 

The new 160 bed Memorial Home will increase resident spaces to meet or exceed Ministry requirements. It will have large open areas for community gatherings and family visits, and include enhanced programming and care spaces to improve the quality of life for residents.

Councillor Branderhorst flagged the County’s aging population and the number of private beds for seniors that are being eliminated due to closures, the result of failure to meet Ministry guidelines.

“Is this going to be the next daycare crisis? Are we going to wake up in ten years and be kicking ourselves because we failed to see the big picture?” she asked.


“In five years we are going to have even fewer spaces for the aged in our 
community. Do we really want to see our elderly, many of whom have spent their entire lives here, be forced to move to Kingston or Bancroft? The majority of residents will understand this is not an easy choice but one that needs to be made.”

Councillor Phil St. Jean

Councillor Phil St. Jean predicted that within five years at least two privately run homes will be closed. The privately owned 78-bed Picton Manor was shuttered by the Ministry in 2012 for fire-code violations as well as service and supply interruptions due to non payment. It could not keep up with the bills, in other words.

Councillor St. Jean noted that his mother is awaiting placement in a long-term care home.

“In five years we are going to have even fewer spaces for the aged in our community,” he said. “Do we really want to see our elderly, many of whom have spent their entire lives here, be forced to move to Kingston or Bancroft? The majority of the residents are going to understand this is not an easy choice but one that needs to be made.”

The motion must still be ratified at a meeting of Council.

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 20 edition of The Picton Gazette
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