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There is much jubilation happening at Fairvern nursing home today as news that the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care has officially approved the home’s 96-bed redevelopment plans have started circulating.
The Chair of the Board of Directors for Fairvern, Rob Laver, said notification from the Minister arrived last evening at about 6 p.m.
“It’s a major milestone,” said Laver, who said the work to build a new Fairvern at the corner of Muskoka Road 3 North and Earls Road now begins in earnest. The Town of Huntsville will be paying to build the road that will access the site off Earls Road where the new home will be located thanks to lands donated for the new build by local developer Pat Dubé.
“It’s very exciting. We know the writ will be dropped any day now and everything moves off the table when that happens, so we’re very happy that it was announced before the election started,” noted Laver.
He’s also pleased that the Ministry’s support was announced before the municipal election as the District of Muskoka has committed $10 million towards the home’s redevelopment pending the Minister’s approval of additional beds and its support for the redevelopment—both of which are now official.
Laver said more information will be forthcoming in the coming days. “I think the next big piece is something called a development agreement that essentially is a contract between Fairvern and the Provincial Government that describes what the building process will be, who the players are and what their responsibilities will be. That’s a fairly large document and will likely take a number of months to get through before that is signed,” he said. “But once the development agreement is signed, then we can really start moving full speed ahead.”
Laver said he’s not sure how long it will take to get shovels in the ground. “We’re not going to be digging a hole in the ground next week. There’s a lot of planning that needs to go on right now and I think we will be fortunate if we can start construction next spring.”
He said the Ministry’s funding formula is on a per bed basis, which he estimates works out to about $12.5 to $13 million. “That leaves us with a shortfall of about ten-and-a-half million and the District has graciously stepped up to fill that gap,” said Laver, adding that the rest will hopefully come from the community and Fairvern’s fundraisers.
As of last month, Fairvern had 170 people on its waiting list. “We have residents in the home between ages 48 and 103. So we’re much more than an old age home. We are a home for many people in the community who require our care.”
Laver noted that Fairvern plays a key role in this area’s spectrum of care. “We assist people in Community Living by providing a home for some of those people. We assist the hospital, again by providing a home for people in need of continuing care. Sadly, we also provide palliative care to people who have no other choice but hospice, as a matter of fact we do a lot of palliative care,” said Laver, adding that Fairvern looks after those with terminal illnesses, particularly when Hospice Huntsville is at capacity.
“We’re in the same boat as everybody else. We can no longer rely on the Province to financially provide for everything we do. Keeping in mind that Fairvern is a not-for-profit charitable organization, I think we’d like to get the message out that Fairvern is a worthy partner in this healthcare spectrum and with this new build, we are going to be asking the community for some help and to consider Fairvern as a worthy recipient of this community’s charitable giving,” he said.
Laver said it is his understanding that there will be a campus of care approach with the redevelopment of Fairvern, off Muskoka Road 3 North. Plans are in the works for more senior housing as well as medical buildings and other related developments on those lands. “That’s a separate project but that will complete that parcel of land,” he explained.
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