The new Prescott-Russell Residence will have 78 more beds than the existing facility.

When the United Counties of Prescott and Russell council met on April 24, it voted to have 224 beds at the new building in Hawkesbury, rather than the 146 beds the current residence has.

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.

Clarence-Rockland Mayor Guy Desjardins was the only mayor to vote against the 224-bed proposal when it was introduced by Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux.

The Clarence-Rockland Mayor also requested a recorded vote for the proposal.

“Where is all this money?” Desjardins asked in an interview after the meeting, noting that all of it is in different funds within the budget.

Desjardins is also concerned about financial losses due to having to pay for the extra beds and financing for a loan for construction.

“Where are you going to get the staffing?” he asked, in reference to the labour costs associated with having more beds.

According to Colliers, the company managing the project, a 224-bed facility is expected to have lower yearly operational costs at $4,391,871 instead of $4,932,663 for a 146-bed facility.  However, due to the larger building, the combined capital and operating cost would be higher at an estimated at $7,804,393. With 146 beds, the combined capital and operating cost is estimated at $7,690,791.

Even with 224 beds, 40 per cent will still be designated as basic beds to meet Ontario government requirements.  The rest will be designated as semi-private or private.