By Ephrem Gallant, North Bay
February 2019 and the Cassellholme (CH) long term care (LTC) four-year reconstruction project has yet to be announced. The waiting list for LTC at CH has risen to 207 people (December 2018). Using a 15% average annual growth for LTC waiting lists in Ontario in four years, the number of people waiting for LTC at CH will have increased to 362. If we subtract the 24 newly constructed LTC beds at CH, we are left with 338 people waiting for LTC after 2023.
Today, council frets about wetland policy and skating complex size. No councillor has suggested funding any additional LTC beds at CH. No councillor has suggested the purchase of the former adjacent OPP building ($800,000) for future expansion to CH. Yet a business “minor” can get serious consideration from council suggesting 10 million on a fishing expedition to entice investment is imperative? As for our Mayor’s “Population Growth” idea, shouldn’t he start by addressing this LTC crisis before creating a larger one?
This is the agreed solution to LTC at CH by your; MPP, the MOHLTC, the NE LHIN, the Executive Director of CH, the Chair CH, the Mayor, our council and the other contributing municipal governments.
Seven years ago the CH plan included 32 new LTC beds, today’s plan 24?
The planned response to a greater demand for LTC is to provide even less LTC beds…brilliant! In any event, it is what a crisis in local LTC looks like. Remember those who campaigned in support of LTC, I do.
It is now budget time at City Hall. Council once again struggles to prioritize its funding initiatives. At this point, I suspect our City wishes to wash their hands of its LTC responsibly altogether. It seems a convenient political strategy to champion LTC to get elected but once elected the reality is so strikingly different. How can we grow as a community, if you ignore the needs of the citizens we already have?
Flying a flag to recognize Alzheimer’s month at City Hall was a wonderful acknowledgment. Our council resolving to fund more LTC beds will do so very much more.