Residential Hospice of Grey Bruce decides not to proceed with proposed south satellite project

·3 min read

OWEN SOUND – In a press release dated May 31 but not widely distributed, Residential Hospice of Grey Bruce (RHGB, known as Chapman House) announced it has decided it won’t be proceeding with the proposed south satellite project.

RHGB announced a year ago, in April 2021, that it had decided to “pause” the development of the project in Brockton.

Bill Pearson, RHGB board chair, said, “This was a difficult decision. COVID-19 created many obstacles, and the focus of RHGB over the last two years has been to keep our residents and their families, and our staff and volunteers at Chapman House, as safe as possible. Anyone involved in or touched by hospice, no matter where you reside, wants to see more hospice beds available to everyone who needs them. But we must focus on the sustainability and needs of our current hospice, Chapman House.”

With the project officially on pause, a group formed in the Brockton, Hanover, West Grey and South Bruce area to continue with it. The new group included some former board members of RHGB. Saugeen Hospice has been moving forward ever since, naming a board of directors, holding events and accepting donations. The same time as the press release from RHGB was issued, the Saugeen Hospice group announced it had been granted charitable status by Revenue Canada, meaning it can now issue charitable donation receipts for tax purposes.

RHGB stated in its press release that “after much consideration over those 12 months, including discussions with representatives from the Ministry of Health and Canada Revenue Agency, RHGB has decided to not proceed with the proposed south satellite project.”

What this means for Saugeen Hospice and its efforts to ensure a residential hospice is built on land provided by Brockton in East Ridge Business Park, remains to be seen. Funds donated for the south satellite project have been held in a segregated account. As stated in the RHGB press release, CRA would allow a transfer of the private donations made for the proposed south satellite project to “another registered charity in good standing, if another project is in line with the original plans and honours the intent of the donors’ gifts.” RHGB is also awaiting direction from the Ministry of Health on the balance of the $180,000 seed funds received for what has become known as the “south build.”

The RHGB press release was cautious in stating the transfer of funds could only happen with the Health Ministry’s approval.

Executive director of RHGB, Janet Fairbridge, said in the press release, “Since April 2021, over 25 per cent of our residents at Chapman House were from Durham, Walkerton, Hanover, and surrounding area. We continue to ensure Chapman House is accessible to all in our community who need the highest quality palliative and end-of life care available, at no cost to the resident or their family.”

Brockton Mayor Chris Peabody stated in an interview that he hopes the “Ministry of Health will support this.” He commented that although he’s tried to remain impartial, and has attempted to facilitate a resolution without showing preference for either Saugeen Hospice or RHGB, he acknowledges “it was a good idea to split off … we would never have gotten our hospice.” He further commented, “We have great people here, who will get it done.”

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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