A change of course for the future of long-term care in Grey County.
County council passed a motion at its meeting this morning in a recorded vote of 51-39 to rescind a previous resolution to sell Grey Gables in Markdale and amend the long-term care re-development application to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to include only the 100 beds at Rockwood Terrace.
Cheers and loud applause erupted from a packed gallery in council chambers when the clerk announced the results of the vote.
Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen, who introduced the motion, says the right decision has been made. He says it's an important day that will move Grey County forward from what he calls a "controversial, divisive topic" that has left the county in a stall.
"What people were telling me, and the community was saying, and the public was saying," McQueen explains, "this was the right thing to do."
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor from The Blue Mountains, Grey Highlands, Southgate, West Grey and Chatsworth, as well as Meaford Deputy Mayor Shirley Keaveney voted to support the motion to rescind the Grey Gables sale plan.
Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy and Deputy Mayor Brian O'Leary, Georgian Bluffs Mayor Dwight Burley and Deputy Mayor Sue Carleton, Hanover Mayor Sue Paterson and Deputy Mayor Selwyn Hicks as well as Meaford Mayor Barb Clumpus all voted against the motion to rescind.
Hicks, the Warden of Grey County, says he voted that way because he believes the decision that was made by the previous council was the right one.
"That said, I'm now the warden. And my job as warden is to make sure the wish of council is supported and promoted," Hicks says. "And I intend to do that."
Outspoken Grey Gables advocate Darrin Patey was in attendance for the decision and says it's great news for both Markdale and Durham.
Patey has been fighting to save Grey Gables since county council first made its decision to proceed with its sale.
"There's times when you bang your head against the wall and kind of wonder if you should carry on. This is why you carry on," an elated Patey says. "Throughout two years of talking to people all around the county on this, I never got one person who was for this in the general public."
"Ultimately, (county councillors are) here to respresent us as the public," continues Patey. "And they did today."
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker issued a statement in wake of the decision to rescind the sale of 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," Walker's statement reads. "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.”
A second motion McQueen gave notice of was withdrawn. It was to request a minimum of 60 new long term care beds from the Ministry for the redevelopment of Rockwood Terrace totalling a minimum 160 bed facility, and that the county request a minimum of 30 additional long-term care beds for Grey Gables totalling a minimum of 96 beds, and move forward with expanding the fourth wing.
County council ended up passing a motion to direct staff to apply to the Ministry for a minimum of 90 additional long-term care beds and that upon notice of approval to refer to the Long Term Care Committee of Management to determine optimal efficiency, financial impact and equity across Grey County.
Rockwood Terrace in Durham must be redeveloped to meet 'Class A' standards by 2025, in accordance with the Ontario Long Term Care Homes Act.
Grey County council has PASSED a resolution to rescind previous decision to sell Grey Gables in Markdale.— Matt Hermiz (@MattHermiz) January 24, 2019