Posted on Thursday April 11, 2019 at 10:22 a.m.
Decision time now for counties on new Residence project
The mayors on counties council have to decide soon how well all the numbers add up so they can make their final decision on the new Prescott-Russell Residence project.
“Let’s be ready to vote on this at the next meeting,” said Mayor François St-Amour of The Nation Municipality, “because we can’t wait anymore.”
Mayor St-Amour made the comment during the April 10 session of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) council following a joint presentation by UCPR Finance Director Julie Ménard-Brault and Andrew Rodrigues of Colliers International, the consultant firm contracted as project manager for the new Prescott-Russell Residence project.
The two provided council with estimates of the projected cost for building the new long-term care and retirement facility, depending on whether it houses 146 tenants or 224. The present Residence is for 146 tenants but the counties have been considering expanding the capacity of the new Residence to help accommodate Prescott-Russell’s growing senior population.
Projected cost for a new 146-bed facility is about $59 million. For a 224-bed facility, it would be about $75.7 million. Those figures include a provincial government construction loan to cover 85 per cent of the building cost, plus the UCPR’s own financial contribution to the project and any contingency funding.
Warden Robert Kirby expressed concern about whether the project cost could see a huge increase in the near future because of unexpected factors. Mayor Guy Desjardins of Clarence-Rockland suggested UCPR council wait until after the Thursday provincial budget announcement to see whether the Ford Progressive Conservative government includes program funding cuts that could affect financing of the new Residence project.
Rodrigues noted that the project planning process is at the stage where UCPR council must decide whether the final Residence design is for 146 tenants or 224. The planning process calls for having the new facility ready for tenants by the end of December 2022.
Both Rodrigues and UCPR Chief Administrator Stéhane Parisien noted that delays on decisions at any stage of the process now could affect the project’s final costs and timeline.
“We have to settle on whether we are building a 224-bed facility or a 146,” said Parisien. “This is the biggest project we (UCPR staff) have undertaken for the counties, and we’re not taking it lightly.”