The cost of furnishing the new Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury is facing some financial pressures.

On Wednesday, April 26, Project Manager Andrew Rodrigues updated United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) council on the progress of constructing the 224-bed, $75.7 million public, long-term care facility on Spence Avenue.

Rodrigues told council electrical and mechanical systems are being installed but there is a budget challenge of around $2.8 million to cover the cost of furnishings, equipment, lifts, and interest rates on construction. Treasurer Valérie Parisien the increased cost is about $2.8 million.   

Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux noted that the UCPR was not eligible for a new provincial funding program for building new long-term care facilities because the new Prescott and Russell Residence project was started before the program was introduced. Treasurer Parisien said the Ontario government told the UCPR not to see the ineligibility as a penalty for starting the project, but to instead see how the UCPR set an example by beginning its project and potentially kicking off a province-wide building spree of new long-term care facilities.

Leroux said it remains to be seen if that building spree will happen.

To fund the construction of the new residence, the UCPR has obtained a $70 million loan from Infrastructure Ontario, the province’s public works financing agency.

Warden Normand Riopel asked why there is an increase in the price of furnishings. Rodrigues explained there have been changes in price and Ministry of Long-Term Care requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Administrative Officer Stephane Parisien said the UCPR is not eligible for provincial subsidies to cover the cost of furnishings.

“It’s coming close to realization,” remarked Leroux about the progress of construction on the new facility.

“We can’t build them fast enough,” he said of the demand for long-term care facilities.

He also estimated the UCPR could pay $4 to $5 million each year towards the Infrastructure Ontario loan.

Clarence-Rockland Mayor Mario Zanth wanted to know when people will be moving into the new Prescott and Russell Residence.

Rodrigues estimated it will be ready for occupancy in mid-2024.

The new Prescott and Russell Residence