dNiagara-on-the-Lake seniors should not be fearful of being kicked out of their nursing home with nowhere to go, said the town’s regional councillor Gary Zalepa.
Upper Canada Lodge has been slated to close for some time, but its closure is not imminent — it is likely to be several years before anything changes at the home — and the region will not close it until every resident has a room and a bed to go to, he said.
The discussion at the region regarding Upper Canada Lodge has all along been that it is not financially responsible to carry out expensive repairs to the 80-bed home to bring it up to provincial standards, mandated by 2025.
The region is redeveloping two seniors’ residents, Gilmore Lodge in Fort Erie, on a larger property once the site of a mall, and Linhaven in St. Catharines. The plan for both, based on the provincial funding model, is for larger homes with more beds, in a community-hub, campus-style environment, he said.
That isn’t the case with Upper Canada Lodge — the property it sits on is owned by Parks Canada, not the region, and the site isn’t large enough for the newer, bigger buildings now considered financially sound and funded by the province.
“The property isn’t ours, and it simply isn’t large enough,” he said, to answer criticism of the regional decision to close it.
Although the decision was made “long before my time (as a regional councillor) I think it’s the prudent decision. We have two solid operations in town, and this is an opportunity to work with the province to create the best situation in town for our seniors,” said Zalepa.
“I think the important message is for people to realize nobody is going to be asked to go anywhere until there’s accommodation for them. That’s very important for people to understand. It’s a long-term plan. Nobody will be kicked out of their bed.”
The not-for-profit Pleasant Manor is expanding its facility to accommodate 120 more seniors, and possibly more, and there is also the privately-owned Chartwell Long-Term Care residence on Wellington Street, said Zalepa.
“I don’t want seniors panicking. There will be beds