The new Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury will still cost about $2.8 million more than originally projected.

On Wednesday, September 27, Project manager Andrew Rodrigues updated United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) on construction progress of the new UCPR-owned and operated long-term care facility on Spence Avenue.

Rodrigues described the increased cost as a “variance” and said it remains at about $2.8 million, which was the same amount he disclosed to council during a previous update on April 26. Rodrigues said the reason for the increase continues to the cost of furniture, fixtures, equipment, resident lifts, and interest rates.

The new residence, which will replace the 46-year-old facility on Cartier Boulevard in Hawkesbury, will have 224 beds and was originally projected to cost $75.7 million. The $2.8 million increase adds 3.1 per cent to the originally estimated cost.

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. That loan will be converted to a mortgage at a rate still to be determined.

“Obviously the costs are a concern,” commented Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux. He asked if it is possible to reopen discussions with the Ministry of Long-Term Care about grant funding for the new residence. 

Chief Administrative Officer Stéphane Parisien said a previous UCPR delegation to the ministry inquiring about funding was unsuccessful.

“The door was shut in our face with respect to eligibility,” Parisien said.

The UCPR went ahead and decided to build the new residence before a new provincial grant program was established for the construction of long-term care facilities. The UCPR has not been eligible for that funding retroactively. Parisien said a further delegation before the ministry is possible and Leroux agreed another attempt should be made.  

“I think we should be hounding this one non-stop.”

Parisien agreed to make the request for another delegation.

Rodrigues told council that the most recent exterior work taking place at the construction site includes brickwork, developing parking areas, and finishing courtyards. Inside the building, rooms are being finished, lifts installed, and bathrooms finished.

A pre-occupancy review for the new facility will begin shortly. The new Prescott and Russell Residence is to be ready for occupancy in mid-2024.

Construction at the new Prescott and Russell Residence

South wall. Photo: James Morgan