A motion unanimously passed by North Bay City Council urges the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to move forward with the redevelopment of Cassellholme as soon as possible.

North Bay City Councillor Chris Mayne, who doubles as chair of the board for the long-term care home group admits it has been an up-and-down process but hopes the finish line is in sight.

Says Mayne, “We’re comfortable, starting with [Tuesday’s motion in] North Bay, support will be achieved and this will allow the Cassellholme board to go back to the Ministry of Health. Hopefully, the ministry is ready to sign off on giving us the redevelopment agreement we need to move forward to tender.”

The hold-up? In the last few months, South Algonquin has joined four other municipalities — Mattawa, Mattawan, Calvin, and Papineau-Cameron in leaving the board. In a recent vote, South Algonquin has been relieved of its share of the operating costs but remains

Mayne says, “We had significant discussions and the board agreed South Algonquin would be released from their capital contribution towards the redevelopment, which is about $50,000 per year and they would be free to pursue separate negotiations with the province for any potential changes to their operating agreement.”

The other four departing municipalities will continue both capital and operating contributions in a separate departure agreement — one that South Algonquin initially helped formulate. Mayne says the difference is South Algonquin historically has had no residents at Cassellholme and is not in the Nipissing riding. The centre of South Algonquin, in fact, lies as closer to Pembroke and Huntsville as it does North Bay. Because municipalities are compelled to help fund long-term care homes, it is possible South Algonquin will seek to contribute somewhere closer.

Mayne clarifies 70 per cent of the operating costs for Cassellholme are the responsibility of the provincial government, while fees from residents and municipalities each cover 15 per cent.

The way the group is broken down, North Bay’s share for operating costs is about 80 per cent of that 15 per cent municipal commitment, approximately $2 million annually.