City council has supported a move by local citizens calling for the creation of a task force that would examine the long-term care requirements in the region.
Councillors unanimously threw support behind the demands being made by local citizens who are concerned that there aren’t enough provincial resources being diverted to long-term care beds and facilities in eastern Ontario.
“They are requesting council just to support the motion so (Minister of Health Deb Matthews) can get the task force in place,” said Coun. Andre Rivette. “The only way we’re going to get a task force in place is to have the minister of health have a representative come down and make it happen.”
The groundswell of support for the creation of such a task force - which would include membership from the city, provincial MPPs and Local Health Integration Network, among others – was sparked when word came down that the former Cornwall General Hospital building on Second Street would be sold.
The consensus among many is that the facility houses long-term care beds that could otherwise be lost when the building gets sold, or could perhaps be made suitable for use as a long-term care facility.
“I don’t think there should be a big panic out there that we are tying up the hospital (sale) for any length of time,” said Rivette, pointing out that Matthews’ department must ultimately approve the sale. “I think it’s important she says yes or no (on creating a task force).
“And that’s all the community is requesting.”
Coun. Maurice Dupelle suggested the province, like city council, must listen to residents.
“The one thing that is very important is that our residents know we are listening,” he said. “This would just encourage information sessions.”
After council voted to support the creation of a task force, Mayor Bob Kilger was successful in getting a motion passed that calls for a so-called “made-in-Cornwall” solution to long-term care problems plaguing the area.
MPP Jim McDonell has demanded that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care conduct a study on the future need of long-term care beds and community care in this region before any final decision is made on the future or sale of the former Cornwall General Hospital site.