Cassellholme is causing great concern for Robert Corriveau, the mayor of Papineau-Cameron Township.
Yesterday, Corriveau posted an open letter urging a reconsideration of the long-term care home’s reconstruction and expansion.
“I’ve had a lot of response on that, a lot of people thought I was on the right track, that Cassellholme was spending too much money on this redevelopment.”
Corriveau maintains “Cassellholme needs to be redeveloped, but the timing for the tender was bad because of Covid-19.”
Emphasizing a main point of his letter, Corriveau urges the entire tender process be redone, as the original tender process “eliminated a lot of bidders” from submitting a proposal.
Two companies bid, Corriveau explained, and one was quickly eliminated. Projects of this scope dependent on Provincial funding usually “require a minimum of three bids,” Corriveau said, “so I don’t know why the Province didn’t interject.”
“I’m so disappointed,” he said. “I’ve been in business all my life, a bank manager, a private investigator, and I know what common sense is and I know what a dollar value is and this project is way over budget.”
“The other night they chose to levy the municipalities,” he said, referring to a recent Cassellholme meeting, “and I find that irresponsible.”
“They want us to pay upfront,” Corriveau explained, “We asked them if we could pay it over five years and they said no.”
Papineau-Cameron Township’s share of the Cassellholme project “is in the area of $2.3 million,” Corriveau said, adding “we have to pay the Provincial portion which is 1.6 per cent of $68 million. We have to pay that as well to Cassellholme before we can exit.”
“It is a total nightmare for our municipality, and it is not necessary.”
Funding Cassellholme as it is currently imagined will “cripple the finances of our municipality to the point where we’re going to have to cut back on essential services.”
“We don’t want to go that route,” Corriveau emphasized, “and we wouldn’t have to go that route if the cost was lower and the financing options were more attractive.”
Even if the township could finance over five years, “to maintain our budget the way it is right now and keep the money we have now in our reserves, we would have to double the tax rate for five years.”
“If your taxes are $4,000 on your house, would you like to see that raise to $8,000 for five years?”
Ultimately, Corriveau supports the project, but believes the budget is much too high.
“The timing was wrong, the tendering process was wrong, and we need to go back to the drawing board.”
“It doesn’t feel right,” he said of the current project. “We need to work together here. Somebody got it wrong, and it needs to be corrected.”