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New long-term care facility 'on target'

Posted by Sudbury Northern Life Reporter Bill Bradley  A key component of the city's fight to free up hospital beds at Sudbury Regional Hospital - St.

Posted by Sudbury Northern Life Reporter Bill Bradley 

A key component of the city's fight to free up hospital beds at Sudbury Regional Hospital - St. Joseph Villa's proposed 128 long-term care bed facility in Chelmsford - is still on track, said Jo-Anne Palkovits, chair of the St. Joseph Health Centre board.

"We are absolutely on target for opening in the fall of 2010," said Palkovits. The building is estimated to cost $20.8 million and be 85,000 square feet in size. About 200 jobs will be created.

The Chelmsford site is crucial to servicing residents in the area, said Mayor John Rodriguez, in a support letter for the project from April 2007.

"At present, there is no such facility to serve 'Valley West,' an area of our community which is situated some distance from the core of the city."

He also said the area is primarily bilingual.

Sue Bertuzzi, a St. Joseph's Health Centre administrator, said the bilingual aspect of the site is being worked upon to accommodate the needs of residents in the surrounding community.

The architectural firm of Yallowega Belanger has been hired to design the building.

"They are at the working drawing stage now," she said.

The land for the site in Chelmsford has been donated by Gabe Bélanger, owner of Bélanger Ford Lincoln Centre. The land, a five acre parcel, is located behind the Place Bonaventure Mall.

"We have surveyed the land and had it appraised. Now we are in the process of severing it," said Palkovits.

Liane Valiquette is acting as project manager.

"Liane was leading our project for our 64 bed continuing care centre beside St. Joseph's Villa on South Bay Road. She is now leading this project," said Palkovits.

The City of Greater Sudbury has indicated it will contribute $2 million towards the project's capital costs. St. Joseph's Foundation will utilize funds from its own finances to fund the facility, but it will still have a significant shortfall.

The province will contribute $9.8 million a year to the facility's operating budget once it opens, said Bertuzzi.

Two prominent community members will lead a fundraising campaign.

"Its goal is to raise $2.3 million from the community. We have two prominent people to lead this effort. We hope to be underway at the end of this month," said Palkovits.

The need is great, say supporters.

Darwin Brunne, chair of CARP, a seniors organization with 4,108 local members, said in his support letter dated April 11, 2007 that, "we have been concerned about the growing needs of our seniors, and the significant gap in the amount of beds available in Sudbury for the fastest growing segment of our population."

Furthermore, the opportunity presented for St. Joseph's Health Centre in Rayside Balfour is "exceptional," and good planning and action on their part, needing "the strong support of city council."