A petition from residents of Calvin Township asking out from under the burden of the Cassellholme redevelopment has been delivered to Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli
Richard Gould, whose letter to the editor entitled Province punishing local taxpayers with unfair burden of Cassellholme costs was posted to BayToday in late October, had an appointment with Fedeli, Wednesday, to deliver the petition signed by 284 out of approximately 400 adults living in Calvin. Sandy Cross, the deputy mayor in Calvin, helped Gould, the creator of the petition, collect signatures and accompanied him to the meeting, in support.
Calvin is petitioning to be removed from Schedule 4 of the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007. The intention is for the township's taxpayers to no longer contribute to Cassellholme. "If this cannot be achieved, we request that the project not move forward because of the harm it would cause residents and seniors alike," it reads.
Gould's role is as a concerned citizen who says he has watched the escalating costs of the Cassellholme project and believes the “drive” to get it done has "overtaken doing what is cost-effective and, most importantly, effective for the elderly for the next 25 years."
He states, "If North Bay and Bonfield want to go ahead with the project, that’s fine, but the people of Calvin Township wish to be excluded. It is our hope to have Calvin removed from the board and to have our township give its support to the Algonquin Nursing Home, in Mattawa.
"Unfortunately, our township is very small. There are approximately 200 households and not much commercial industry," Gould tells BayToday. "When large amounts are added to the budget half the amount is covered by commercial taxation, but the other half is divided between those 200 households. The increase in taxes will be a strain on residents, many of whom believe we should be supporting the Mattawa Algonquin Nursing home, rather than the North Bay Cassellholme."
In the wake of Wednesday's meeting, Gould says he is appreciative of Fedeli's time and attention in regard to the Calvin group's concerns. Gould shared Fedeli will have the petition read at Queen's Park but the MPP feels the majority of Calvin's concerns must be solved jointly by the municipal mayors and the Cassellholme Board.
The levy from Cassellholme for Calvin's share of the overall $121-million redevelopment project will have a large impact on Calvin's residential taxes, advises Gould. "There are some who are struggling right now and this increase will bring some residents closer to losing their homes."
He adds, "Calvin Township has a closer affiliation to the non-profit nursing home in Mattawa than it does to Cassellholme but Calvin will be levied for the cost of the Cassellholme rebuild and certainly can’t support Mattawa as well.
"We are a small township but this is a strong majority and it shows that the people of Calvin have spoken."