The United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) is considering a financial contribution to a not-for-profit long-term care facility in Clarence-Rockland.

At the May 13 Committee of the Whole meeting, the mayors agreed to consider contributing $500,000 to the Centre d’Accueil Roger-Séguin so it can purchase property for a new facility to replace its aging building in Clarence Creek.

Many of the facility’s residents come from communities in the western parts of the counties because the UCPR’s own long-term care facility, the Prescott-Russell Residence, is located in Hawkesbury and tends to serve more communities in the eastern parts of the counties.

The contribution was proposed by Clarence-Rockland Mayor Guy Desjardins.  UCPR Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Stéphane Parisien said that the funds are available in the reserves set aside for the new Prescott-Russell Residence.

Warden Pierre Leroux said he would prefer to wait and see how the pandemic will affect the UCPR’s finances before and suggested deferring the matter to a future budget meeting.

“I feel it’s only fair they are allotted this money,” said East Hawkesbury Mayor Robert Kirby, who seconded Desjardins’ proposal.

Hawkesbury Mayor Paula Assaly said that she had no objections to supporting the Roger-Séguin facility, but she is also concerned about the impact the pandemic could have on the counties finances.

Casselman Mayor Daniel Lafleur asked if the contribution could be made in installments over a period of time.  Leroux said that option was possible, and he again stated his preference of waiting until the 2021 budget process started.

“It’s unbelievable that we’re nickel-and-diming them,” Kirby responded.

Leroux responded that any money saved is for the benefit of taxpayers.

Lafleur suggested that the Roger-Séguin centre receive $250,000 now from the UCPR, and then the remaining $250,000 later.

Assaly suggested staff develop a possible third option for how the UCPR could assist the facility and present it to council at a future meeting.

CAO Stéphane Parisien said the decision should be made by council and not by staff.

Desjardins suggested that the $500,000 contribution to the Centre d’Acceuil Roger-Séguin be decided upon at the next UCPR council meeting.  All of the mayors agreed.