Leadership officials with the Cornwall Community Hospital were before city council Monday night to re-emphasize they have little choice but to sell the facility’s Second Street site.
Hospital CEO Jeanette Despatie and board chair Helene Periard spelled out in detail the reasons why the site must be sold – which were welcomed by council, but some around the table suggested the message should have been made sooner.
“I wish the board would have decided on some type of community open house,” said Coun. Maurice Dupelle. “Staying connected with the community, and making sure things are clarified makes a world of difference.
“The clarity needs to be there for the community.”
There has been criticism levelled at hospital in its decision to sell the Second Street site, which has become a home for 32 long-term care beds, among other services.
Many critics have suggested more long-term care beds need to be added in the community. The 32 beds at the Second Street site are in a space leased by the St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre.
Despatie and Periard outlined the reasons behind the sale, including the fact that the hospital only has a mandate to provide acute-care services, which it is mandated to provide at its McConnell Street site only.
As such, they said, by next year the Second Street site will become a liability, rather than an asset, as it will become a vacant building that will require an outlay of cash for things like security, insurance and property taxes – unless the hospital board can find others who wish to purchase it, or lease the property.
The Second Street site has been listed for sale for $2 million, and in February it will receive offers on the property.
“The hospital will have no use for that vacant building,” said Despatie, adding the hospital does not have “the mandate, budget or approval” to provide long-term care services.
Despatie said the hospital’s presentation to city council will be made available online for continued public consumption.