Mayoral candidate Jeff Huska says if elected he wouldn’t allow the city to backtrack on a project that would have provided assisted living space for upwards of 90 local senior citizens.
Questioning the city’s approach to defining wants and needs, in a news release this week, Huska said the decision to spend $120 million on a The Junction arts hub downtown when so many communities lack facilities where seniors who need it can live with assistance (and close to where they’ve lived most of their lives) indicates the city doesn’t know the difference.
“The Junction is penned at over $120 million. Just imagine if a fraction of those dollars went to projects like Tullio Ricci’s. Maybe then people that live in places like Capreol, Falconbridge, Levack and Onaping will believe that Tom Davies Square actually does understand the difference between needs and wants.”
Read the full text of Huska’s release below.
Needs and wants. It’s a difficult thing to distinguish between when you represent a large group of people. Needs and wants.
As a mayoral candidate, there are an abundance of things I would love to promise every single group that steps forward to make their project, program or way of life better. But as you all know, that’s impossible. I can promise to listen, to advocate and even to champion specific issues, but let’s face it, when it comes to promising money, it’s the hardest guarantee to make.
That is where figuring out the needs and the wants comes into play.
Right now, I want to bring attention to issues regarding the lack of assisted living and long-term care facilities for many of the outlying communities in our municipality, especially Capreol. I feel we need to revisit the ongoing delays and lack of commitment from city hall and I’m promising expedited results if I’m the next mayor.
In speaking with Tullio Ricci, president of the Capreol Non-Profit Seniors Housing Corporation, the community has a project to build 44 assisted living rooms to accommodate between 85-90 seniors. Although there isn’t a shovel isn’t in the ground yet, Mr. Ricci tells me there are 214 people already on a waiting list.
Further to the assisted living rooms, Mr. Ricci goes on to explain how the group is also ready for a 128-bed long-term-care facility that once licensed and approved by the province won’t take long to fill.
Understanding that the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) dictates who actually goes where when beds become available in long-term care, these residents of Capreol feel that if a facility is built it might increase the odds of being placed close to home.
Tullio Ricci and his group of volunteers from Capreol, many in their senior years already, have given countless volunteer hours towards the assisted living project and raised $4 million. The community was told they would require approximately $10 million to bring the project to life: $4 million raised and another $6 million from the city.
As Mr. Ricci explained to me, it wasn’t long ago the city informed the Capreol group that their funding application was first in a list of requests and the money seemed, as we say, in the bank. But, for some reason a decision was made and funding was re-routed to a facility in the main part of the Greater Sudbury and Capreol was left empty-handed and frankly neglected.
Capreol isn’t alone with issues like this. Garson, Falconbridge, Skead, Levack and Onaping are just a few places where assisted living and long-term care facilities are needed. Seniors that can’t stay in their homes any longer want to move into facilities close to where they’ve lived for the majority of their lives. Moving seniors farther from their homes decreases opportunities for others to visit and leads to a sense of loneliness and then depression.
The City of Greater Sudbury has an obligation to help the many groups like Mr. Ricci’s navigate the political process and help expedite a project that meets the needs of a community such as Capreol.
This brings me back to how this conversation started about needs and wants. Many Greater Sudburians want the promise for years of that new rink wherever it will be located and honestly, I can live with that project moving forward. But council’s timing, wanting now to bring in another development called “The Junction” at such a large cost to taxpayers doesn’t seem right. Especially when there is a need for — actually a demand for — assisted living and long-term-care beds in the outlying areas of this city.
The Junction is penned at over $120 million. Just imagine if a fraction of those dollars went to projects like Tullio Ricci’s. Maybe then people that live in places like Capreol, Falconbridge, Levack and Onaping will believe that Tom Davies Square actually does understand the difference between needs and wants.
2018 Mayoral Candidate
Learn more about Jeff Huska’s campaign by visiting his election page on Sudbury.com.