Andrew Rodrigues of Colliers speaking to UCPR council at the April 10 Committee of the Whole meeting. Photo: James Morga

UCPR council debates number of beds for new residence

How many beds?  That’s the question United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) council is facing as it moves ahead with plans to build a new Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury.

Andrew Rodrigues of Colliers, the project management firm selected by the counties for the new long-term care facility, appeared before council at the April 10 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Council must decide if it wants a facility with 146 beds or 224. No matter the choice, 40 per cent would have to be designated as basic beds to meet Ontario government requirements.  The rest would be designated as semi-private or private.

The existing residence has 146 beds.

A 224-bed facility is expected to operate more efficiently at more than $4.3 million per year than a 146-bed one at more than $4.9-million. However, the capital cost would be higher due to the larger size building. It is estimated at more than $7.8-million while 146 beds are estimated at more than $7.6- million.

The total project cost for 224 beds is estimated at more than $75.7 million.  It is more than $59-million for 146 beds. Those amounts exclude the $1.4-million cost for the land, $2.2-million from the UCPR 2019 budget, and $4.3-million in reserves.

Colliers and the UCPR received their first submission from the architect in March. The design of the building would be the same, regardless of what number of beds council chooses.

“I want to have a price that at the end of the day doesn’t come out 10 times what we expected,” commented Warden Robert Kirby.

Rodrigues said best practices are in place to prevent that from happening.

Clarence-Rockland Mayor Guy Desjardins said he would be surprised if costs went down. He wanted to wait and see what effects the provincial budget may have on the counties first.

Champlain Township Mayor Normand Riopel noted the population in the area is expected to age and wanted to know if any consideration had been given to that in the planning process.

UCPR CAO Stéphane Parisien said an “educated guess” was made in determining facility needs based on the population.

“Let’s be ready to vote on this at the next meeting, because we can’t wait anymore,” said La Nation Mayor François St-Amour.

Kirby wanted clarification on how available financing from province would be.

The counties are anticipating the project will be financed through the Infrastructure Ontario agency.

Parisien said the provincial commitment is dependent on the counties finalizing the project plan.

Council decided to decide on the number of beds the new residence will have when it meets on April 24.

Desjardins said in an interview following the meeting that he would like the facility to remain 146 beds in order to keep the project cost under control.

“We can’t keep going up,” said Desjardins.

Clarence-Rockland Mayor Guy Desjardins suggested waiting to decide on the number of beds until after the provincial budget. Photo: James Morgan

James Morgan

James Morgan is a freelance contributor. He has worked for several print and broadcast media outlets. James loves the history, natural beauty, and people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

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