The Au Chateau Home for the Aged in West Nipissing faces a major problem in the near future with possible bed closures looming on the horizon.
At issue is an agreement the nursing home has that expires on December 31st, 2020.
That agreement calls for the province and the feds to channel $633,977 each year to Au Chateau for 102 beds.
The agreement was signed in 1984 with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the provincial government’s Municipal Affairs and Housing and the West Nipissing Non-Profit Housing Corporation.
The problem is the program the agreement was negotiated under doesn’t exist anymore and a way has to be found to negotiate a new deal that continues to funnel money to Au Chateau for the 102 beds.
The impact of what could happen wasn’t lost on town council.
Yvon Duhaime said the municipality needs to be concerned with this and that the money is needed.
Lise Senecal said Au Chateau provides an essential service in West Nipissing and there’s a need to keep the beds.
Senecal added if the money isn’t found for the facility, 102 beds could close.
Mayor Joanne Savage said without funds from the senior levels of government, it will put a strain on both West Nipissing and Temagami which shares in the cost to help operate the facility.
Savage says it will be left to Temagami and West Nipissing to come up with nearly $640,000 each year for Au Chateau.
Savage says in August the Association of Municipalities of Ontario holds its annual meeting in Ottawa and West Nipissing will be represented.
AMO has numerous cabinet ministers present and it’s an event where municipalities present their wish lists in meetings with government officials.
West Nipissing plans to set up meetings with the appropriate ministers at AMO to explain the need for ongoing government support.
Councillor Dan Roveda suggested adding the chair of the Nipissing DSSAB, Mark King, to the AMO Au Chateau delegation which council is likely to do.
Council is sending letters to DSSAB, its MPP and MP explaining the issue at hand.
Jacques Dupuis, the Administrator at Au Chateau, says although there is one agreement in place, it’s structured as a cost-sharing arrangement between the feds and province.
Dupuis says what needs to be resolved is whether both governments can agree to continue on with a new agreement or if at least one of them will continue to fund Au Chateau’s operations through CMHC.
Dupuis says the difficulty in arriving at a new deal is the program the old one was signed under doesn’t exist anymore.
Dupuis adds without money to replace the funds that could be lost if there’s no new agreement, the operations of the home could be greatly affected by reduced services to potential bed closures.
There are a total of 162 beds in the long-term care home.