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Bonfield concerned Cassellholme’s financing 'has fallen apart'

Municipality prepares to submit separate financing proposal to Province
20210831 cassellholme 2 cd
Cassellholme in North Bay.

Bonfield Mayor Randy McLaren explained to his fellow councillors that “Cassellholme again is in the news for their construction project, which has caused a lot of media attention.”

The upgrading and expansion of the long-term care home is slated to cost just north of $121 million dollars, an expense shared among the partnering municipalities who co-own the building.

See: It's a $121M+ price tag for Cassellholme project to move forward

Some have issues with this cost, such as Papineau-Cameron’s Mayor Robert Corriveau who feels their municipal portion of the debt—$2.3 million— will “strap us financially.”

See: 'Over budget' Cassellholme a 'nightmare for municipality' says Mayor

See: Mayor Corriveau 'remains disappointed' with Cassellholme actions. May seek legal advice to stop it

North Bay has reservations as well, expressed recently in a series of letters from the city’s CAO to the Deputy Minister of Long-Term Care.

Essentially, North Bay is concerned with the way the financing is being handled, with the burden falling on the municipalities.

“There was correspondence circulated,” from the city of North Bay, Mayor McLaren said, regarding “how they want to create an arm’s-length separate construction working group to basically review the entire status of the project from the ground up.”

“That did not occur,” he added.  “So now the board is forging on with the tender that they have, and the construction builders that they have.”

See: Dispute between City and Cassellholme Board over reconstruction costs reaching boiling point

The build will carry on as planned, he said, and as for financing, Cassellholme’s board “decided to submit four separate invoices” to the municipalities who form the ownership group.

“It remains to be seen how that affects us” Mayor McLaren said, referring to the change from a one-time up-front payment to four separate invoices.

See: Mayor Al MacDonald resigns from Cassellholme board

And the financing proposal tabled “was for all municipalities” although “we may have to submit our own proposal” for financing to Infrastructure Ontario for Bonfield’s portion.

The uncertainty troubles McLaren, as Bonfield was fully prepared to pay their municipal portion towards the project.

“The group financing initiative that was originally tabled, and that we voted in favour of participating in, seemingly, has fallen apart,” he said.    

About the Author: David Briggs

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering civic and diversity issues for BayToday. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
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