WINCHESTER — Dundas Manor remains on track for a $25-million rebuild and expansion, according to local MPP Jim McDonell who anticipates a positive announcement on the proposed project in one or two months.
The Manor board went public this week with its disappointment at not making a recent provincial list of identified sites in line for new long-term care beds planned by the Ford government. Responding to that criticism, McDonell told NVN he believes the Dundas Manor rebuild will be included in the next round of approvals — very soon. “We hope to receive approval, I’m told, in one to two months,” said the Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP, adding the ongoing process involves a review of the applications by the Ontario Treasury Board.
He pointed out that long-term-care beds announced to date are just a portion of the 15,000 beds the Ford government has pledged to bring on line in the next five years. “They can’t all be approved on day one.”
The government’s recent elimination of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) bureaucracy should help speed up the approval process for Dundas Manor as well, he also suggested.
McDonell pointed out that his office has been working with the Manor board “for more than a few years” on getting the facility rebuilt and expanded to meet current standards. He’s bullish on accomplishing that goal now that his party is in power. “The former government never approved any allocation of new long-term-care beds in 15 years,” said the Tory MPP.
On paper, the Manor board has a shovel-ready project to reconstruct and expand the aging nursing home, upping the number of residents from 98 to 128 and substantially increasing the building’s size to ensure no more than two people per room. Currently, residents live four to a room and lack accessible washrooms for those with disabilities. The board says provincial law requires it to upgrade.
Yet that project — estimated at $25-million — can’t happen without a go-ahead from the province. Dundas Manor Board Chair Bill Smirle said they are banking on approximately 80 percent capital funding from the province — a percentage Smirle said was automatic with this type of application. The Ontario government can’t grant approval with a demand that the community raise more than the stipulated percentage, he said.
The application also relies on increased operational funding from the province to accommodate the needs of 30 additional residents going forward.