Bonfield Mayor Randy McLaren explained to his fellow councillors that “Cassellholme again is in the news for their construction project, which has caused a lot of media attention.”
The upgrading and expansion of the long-term care home is slated to cost just north of $121 million dollars, an expense shared among the partnering municipalities who co-own the building.
Some have issues with this cost, such as Papineau-Cameron’s Mayor Robert Corriveau who feels their municipal portion of the debt—$2.3 million— will “strap us financially.”
North Bay has reservations as well, expressed recently in a series of letters from the city’s CAO to the Deputy Minister of Long-Term Care.
Essentially, North Bay is concerned with the way the financing is being handled, with the burden falling on the municipalities.
“There was correspondence circulated,” from the city of North Bay, Mayor McLaren said, regarding “how they want to create an arm’s-length separate construction working group to basically review the entire status of the project from the ground up.”
“That did not occur,” he added. “So now the board is forging on with the tender that they have, and the construction builders that they have.”
The build will carry on as planned, he said, and as for financing, Cassellholme’s board “decided to submit four separate invoices” to the municipalities who form the ownership group.
“It remains to be seen how that affects us” Mayor McLaren said, referring to the change from a one-time up-front payment to four separate invoices.
And the financing proposal tabled “was for all municipalities” although “we may have to submit our own proposal” for financing to Infrastructure Ontario for Bonfield’s portion.
The uncertainty troubles McLaren, as Bonfield was fully prepared to pay their municipal portion towards the project.
“The group financing initiative that was originally tabled, and that we voted in favour of participating in, seemingly, has fallen apart,” he said.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca