Cochrane could be getting a new long-term care facility.
During the town’s regular council meeting on Sept. 26, Noranheim Holdings Corp. and AAA Architects Inc. made a virtual presentation about the proposed building that would be located at 718 Concession 4 & 5 Glackmeyer Dr., a 2.83-acre property located right off of Lillabelle Lake.
Noranheim, a GTA-based company, owns the old lodge property on the lake. It is proposing to build a six-storey, 268-bed facility which would include additional services such as doctors’ offices, diagnostic imaging, a pharmacy, optometrist, dentist, foot care clinic, physiotherapist, dietitian and nutritionist, a licensed restaurant, coffee shop, beauty salon, retail and more.
According to the company, it would create over 260 immediate new job opportunities and would provide more revenues to the town through increased economic activity and taxation revenue.
The facility would be privately funded and would be considered a medical facility as governed under the Long Term Care Act.
Noranheim is also trying to acquire adjacent properties for the sewage system, septic and filtration of the wastewater, as well as for extra parking spaces.
While Coun. Rodney Hoogenhoud said it’s very exciting from a community perspective, he has some concerns.
“I see it as a challenge, to be honest with you, knowing that by 2028 there's going to be a shortage of 30,000 physicians. This district alone is 100 physicians short. To employ in a facility that large, where are you going to find these people is my question,” he said.
Hoogenhoud also asked if the company would financially be able to afford to build something so significant and asked if it’s going to be private or partly funded by OHIP.
The company said they have the mechanisms and model in place to staff such a large facility.
Coun. Susan Nelson said she wanted to know if the company considered having a section specifically for Indigenous people.
“I am thinking about the high population of Indigenous people in this community. And, when you're looking at palliative care, I am looking at a room where the Indigenous people could do their smudging and preparing someone for their journey,” she said.
The company noted they are proposing one wing solely for Indigenous people.
“We could also include a healing room where you can actually even have some healing ceremonies with tobacco and sage and whatnot. They've been done before in certain facilities. They're well-ventilated,” they said.
Due to the property currently being zoned as airport commercial, the town would need to change the zoning to allow for a long-term care facility in order for the companies to proceed.
There is also a height by-law issue that would need to be resolved. The current by-law permits for three constructed levels, so a by-law variance would be needed to go ahead with the project.
Mayor Peter Politis said the town will continue to work with the company to develop their vision.
It isn’t known yet when the item will be brought back to council for further discussion.
Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative, TimminsToday.com