Board of Management Chair Chris Mayne pulled a motion from the Cassellholme agenda during its Thursday meeting that would have asked for the support of all nine partner municipalities to proceed with the $122-million redevelopment of the long-term care facility.
"Essentially, they are asking for more time, that's been the request for the past week," he confirmed. "The motion would have had a hard deadline and a request to move towards a levy. I'm going to pull that motion and recommend that we give the municipalities some additional time to pursue their concerns with the province and to finalize any third-party options they may be able to bring to the table."
The commitment to a financing arrangement through Infrastructure Ontario (IO) at what the board considers to be favourable interest rates also carries with it the contentious stipulation the municipalities also guarantee the provincial portion of the debt over 25 years, in addition to their respective shares. The levies are based on weighted assessment for taxation purposes. That provincial debt guarantee would be shared among the nine municipalities, mirroring the percentages of the annual operating levy and capital levy requirements for the development.
Mayne, also a North Bay city councillor, referred to a meeting of the Cassellholme partners held Wednesday in recommending a short reprieve for the City of North Bay to pursue identified alternate financing options and for all the municipalities to continue to explore financing options while advocating for Ontario to guarantee its own portion of the redevelopment deal.
Mayne warned time is running out to secure other options if the deal with Infrastructure Ontario is to proceed.
"There is still a very hard deadline coming up with Infrastructure Ontario. Their board meeting is the 28th of August. We want to be at the table with our application in hand."
Although the meeting is scheduled for late summer, Mayne advised the Cassellholme redevelopment must still pass IO's credit and legal committees, which he estimates will take about six weeks.
"We have to have all of the municipalities signed on to that application before we can submit it," he added.
This leaves a mid-July deadline for the nine partners to commit to the project before pushing it back into fall leads to additional costs (as high as $2.7 million) with Percon, the lone qualified contractor identified in the RFP process.
Mayne conveyed the board's intention to work closely with the municipalities to reach a consensus on the long-delayed project.
"I will be — and the Cassellholme staff will be — keeping in touch with all the municipalities, looking for 'measurable progress.' In the absence of such progress, this board will reconvene at the call of the Chair.
"I think we all share the concern if we don't get before the Infrastructure Ontario board at the end of August — and we miss that financing opportunity — we're lining ourselves up for significant cost issues with the redevelopment."