Following the in-camera session of a special meeting, Thursday, the City of North Bay is announcing it will offer to provide Cassellholme with $4 million in bridge financing to allow the planned redevelopment of the long-term care facility to proceed without incurring significant additional costs.
The $4-million loan would allow the Cassellholme Board of Management to avoid the fees and borrowing costs that would come with relying on an outside lender in order to meet its financial obligations to its contractor, which was recently given conditional approval to commence construction and is requiring its first payment in January. City staff has been authorized by North Bay City Council to arrange for alternative bridge financing.
The Cassellholme Board has chosen to levy its member municipalities in order to fund the redevelopment project. The City of North Bay’s total share of the project is approximately $87 million, with its first payment of approximately $26 million due on Jan. 10, 2022.
The City says this bridge financing solution will allow the redevelopment to proceed while providing all member municipalities the necessary time to confirm their support for a more cost-effective financing solution that has been proposed by the City of North Bay.
“I am still very much in favour of the solution that we have put forward,” says Mayor Al McDonald.
Last week, North Bay City Council endorsed the possibility of Cassellholme eventually becoming a municipal asset in concert with the City's endorsement of the project’s financing arrangement through Infrastructure Ontario.
“It would allow the redevelopment project to move forward in the most cost-effective way by allowing Cassellholme to borrow from Infrastructure Ontario and be in a position to take advantage of the province guaranteeing its portion," McDonald continues. "The proposal would also address the governance issues that a number of former board members have raised.”
Tuesday, in response to the City's proposal, the Cassellholme Board voted to move the $121-million redevelopment project forward while also pledging to work in concert on a proposal to turn ownership and management of the non-profit long-term care facility over to its largest partner.
“North Bay City Council has always been supportive of the redevelopment of Cassellholme and we’re pleased to be able to provide this bridge financing solution,” says Deputy Mayor Tanya Vrebosch. “Moving a project of this magnitude ahead requires cooperation and collaboration. This financing will provide cost savings for all parties.”