“A real game-changer.”
That’s how officials are describing Vic Fedeli, Nipissing MPP, announcing the province is guaranteeing its share of the $122-million Cassellholme redevelopment project.
“Our government heard loud and clear from the municipalities and we listened to their concerns regarding the impacts if they needed to guarantee the loan,” he says. “The Government of Ontario will be guaranteeing its portion of the loan for the expansion of Cassellholme.”
The provincial share of the project is up to $65 million.
Chris Mayne, Chair of the Cassellholme Board of Management, says this will have a significant impact.
“This should make financing much easier for the municipalities as they no longer have to carry the provincial share on their books, which impacts their ability to borrow, their credit ratings, all of their concerns they had with it, this is a real game-changer,” he says.
As for the next steps, Mayne says they’ve submitted their application to the province, which still has to give final approval on the project.
“I’m sure over the next week there will be follow-up discussions with the municipalities to see that this enables them to move forward,” he says. “Ultimately for the redevelopment to move forward, the step once the construction has been awarded is to have money in the bank which means going out to the municipalities and levying and arranging the financing.”
Fedeli says a two-page letter from Pauline Rochefort, Mayor of East Ferris, really helped him make the case that led to this announcement.
“[The letter] really articulated the problems of the financing structure, the uniqueness of the fact that these Boards of Management don’t actually own a facility and therefore if they went to the municipalities for loans the municipalities would have a debt, but no assets on their books,” he says.
Cassellholme officials say the project will result in a state-of-the-art long-term care home with an increase in bed count from 240 to 264.