MARKDALE, ON, May 17, 2017 /CNW/ - A Council decision on the future of the Grey Gables long-term care home in Markdale has been deferred, yet again. But local residents say enough is enough; Council has all the information it needs to make the right choice to keep Grey Gables open and to keep it public.
For months, Grey County Council has been sitting on a controversial staff report, which recommends Grey Gables be sold off, to be owned and operated as a for-profit retirement residence. If approved, the community stands to lose all of its publicly-run, long-term care beds. Council is set to vote on the staff proposal next Thursday, May 25, after deferring the decision twice.
"Councillors know full well they must reject this staff privatization proposal, and they need to stop maneuvering around the issue," said Joan Corradetti, chair of OPSEU's Long-Term Care Division. "The community could not be any clearer when it comes to saving Grey Gables; they've packed two public meetings, they've rallied, canvassed, collected thousands of petition signatures, posted signs, made t-shirts and they've filled the seats at each Council meeting with a strong and unified message."
But regardless of this fierce public outcry, Council had indicated it still needed more time to come to a final decision. Many local residents have questioned why the County did not consult with area residents before having the staff make a recommendation in the first place.
"With an aging population and demand for long-term care on the rise, now is the time to be building, not cutting services out of our communities," said Corradetti. "If Durham requires a new home, it should undoubtedly be built, but not at the expense of the services provided in Markdale. Council needs to understand that pitting communities against each other for public services is a losing game."
"If there's one thing I can promise it's this," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU. "We have thousands of OPSEU members in Grey Bruce, and they aren't afraid to go knocking on doors come the next municipal election to remind voters about council's decision; our members at Grey Gables can rest assured that they'll have the full support of their union."
The community has organized a rally for this Friday, May 19 at 2 p.m. outside of the Grey Gables home. All community members, staff, and residents are encouraged to join. Friday also marks Personal Support Worker Day in Ontario, which is an important time to reflect on the valuable work done by PSWs in keeping us and our loved ones healthy, happy, and safe.
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931