Grey Gables long-term care home on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 in Markdale, Ont. Rob Gowan/The Owen Sound Sun Times/Postmedia Network
Rob Gowan / Rob Gowan/Sun Times
Grey County is awaiting word from the province on how to apply for more long-term care beds.Chief Administrative Officer Kim Wingrove notified county council on Thursday that she has been told by Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care officials that they will be introducing new processes for municipalities to apply for additional beds and redevelopment plans.Wingrove said Thursday that she reached out to the province after Grey County council’s decision earlier this year to retain long-term care homes in both Markdale and Durham, and was told to expect new paperwork for both redevelopment and new beds requests.“When that paperwork is available we can begin to do the work and actually know what all the requirements are that the province will be looking for,” Wingrove said. “Each time they put together an application process some of the details that they are asking for may shift, so it will be really important for us to understand what the background work is the province is looking for and to make sure we roll that all together in a timely way and get the information back to them.”In late January, a new county council reversed a 2017 council decision to sell Grey Gables in Markdale as a long-term care home, instead deciding to keep homes in both Markdale and Durham.The original plan included the construction of a new amalgamated long-term care home in Durham to replace the 66-bed Grey Gables and the 100-bed Rockwood Terrace, which needs to be upgraded from a Class B facility to Class A by 2025. Grey Gables would have been sold off under the previous plan.But after significant changes around the county council chamber following last fall’s municipal elections, the January vote to keep Grey Gables was approved, as was a second motion to apply for at least 90 more long-term care beds.The Conservative government has committed to creating 6,000 new long-term care beds in the province and 15,000 more over the next five years. There has been no indication as to when the first wave of beds will be granted.Wingrove said the county has direction from council to proceed with a plan for a new 128-bed home in Durham, with some background work already done on what that model looks like, but the request for additional beds from the province is a process the county has not seen before and she is anxious to see what kind of information the province is looking for in that application process.She acknowledged that county council has expressed a desire to add beds at Grey Gables, but there will be a lot of work to do before deciding what that expansion will include.“Exactly what that looks like and how to structure that is, I think, the piece of work that is important and we have to turn our minds to now,” said Wingrove.“We have not done any detailed analysis.”Wingrove added that the county has also passed a resolution to support private sector long-term care homes, so it is important to keep them in mind as well.“It will be important for us to understand across all of our service providers what is going to be in the best interest,” said Wingrove. “We do want to have more conversations in that respect as well.”Wingrove said the province hasn’t given a timeline as to when the new application paperwork will be available, but she believes it will be “sooner rather than later.”“Sooner could be a couple of months or so away,” said Wingrove.Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen expressed a desire to proceed with preliminary work on what an expanded Grey Gables would look like.“I don’t want us to wait until we get the process in place. Let’s get going on that,” said McQueen. “We made the motion to apply for a minimum of 90 new beds. Since we agreed on the 28 to be added to the 100 at Rockwood Terrace, lets get that process moving to get a report for Grey Gables so when the province figures out that right number, we are ready to go.”Wingrove expects those discussions to begin at the county’s next meeting of the long-term care committee of management, scheduled for March 12.“I think we will start to talk about what a scope of a project looks like to get that work done for Markdale,” she said.