“This morning, Grey County council voted to rescind the decision to close Grey Gables. I’m pleased by the direction taken by our new County Council. My constituents believe we need more, not fewer long-term care beds, and I was pleased to support them in their fight to keep the nursing home open in Markdale. I look forward to continuing to work with our communities to ensure we have a sustainable long-term care system to serve the residents of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound for many years to come, said Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker.”
Leading up to the Provincial election in the fall, Walker said that, “In the last two-and-a-half years, I have taken a strong stance on seniors’ care, demanding new capacity in long-term care as the provincial wait list was reaching 30,000. To me, this was a shameful record.”
The potential closing of the Markdale long-term care facility has been a two-year long contentious issue. There are three long-term care facilities managed by the County – Grey Gable in Markdale (66 Beds), Lee Manor in Owen Sound (150 beds) and Rockwood Terrace in Durham (100 beds).
In a 2017 report, the county’s director of long-term care, Lynne Johnson, recommended that Grey Gables be put up for sale to the private sector as an assisted living facility. The 66 residents would then have been moved to a new facility to be built in Durham and amalgamated with Rockwood Terrace.
Citizens from throughout the region rallied and established a petition in support of keeping the county facility open.
After County council meeting on Thursday, January 24th (2019), the newly elected Council with several new members, reversed the decision to sell the facility in Markdale.
The new Provincial Government announced in October that it would be creating 6,000 new long-term care beds with 15,000 over the next five years.
With the aging baby-boomer ‘tsunami’ expected, long-term care facilities everywhere are looking at expansions. Currently, many hospital beds are also being occupied by those who should by all accounts be in long-term care residences.
In the earlier go-around of debates, Grey County Warden, Selwyn “Buck” Hicks, voted for the closure of the Markdale facility and restated his opinion that the previous decision was the right one. The new Council however, disagreed and voted against it.