The fact Haliburton County is getting about 70 additional long-term care beds is very good news.
It means the waiting list for a long-term care bed in our community will get a little bit shorter.
It also means existing Extendicare Haliburton residents, if they are still around in three years’ time, will benefit from a new state-of-the-art facility.
The head of Extendicare said it will be roomier, more comfortable and private, offer better activity areas and generally improve quality of life. They will be able to offer more restorative and palliative services.
Minister of Long-Term Care, Paul Calandra, had oodles of praise for local MPP Laurie Scott, whom he said has been lobbying on behalf of long-term care since 2018.
We don’t doubt that the former nurse has indeed been beating the drum.
And the announcement was indeed fortuitous for her as a June 2, 2022 provincial election looms.
In fact, Scott and her government have been making hay out of taxpayer money [let’s not pretend this is provincial government money] for the last couple of weeks locally.
There have been press conferences for the Haliburton Legion roof and Dysart et al rinks. There was a press release for agricultural societies. There was modernization money for the County and Minden Hills. There was cash for the Haliburton Emergency SafeSpace. And, on Feb. 15, more funding for Minden Hills’ new gym at the rec centre.
Pardon the public for being a little cynical about the timing of said announcements.
Back to the Extendicare Haliburton one.
It’s great that the province is giving money to long-term care. The fact they are handing that money to a private company is less welcome. For-profit nursing homes were criticized for their inability to protect their residents from COVID-19 and the Canadian military identified deplorable conditions.
Were the money have gone to Haliburton Highlands Health Services-operated homes at Highland Wood in Haliburton, or Hyland Crest in Minden, some in the community would have welcomed the news even more.
There was also talk about land for the new build not having been identified yet. Extendicare’s president and CAO Michael Guerriere said they have spots in mind. It will likely be in Dysart et al.
Warden Liz Danielsen said something about the County working with Extendicare on finding suitable land. We just hope that help does not extend to taxpayers funding anything for a private, for-profit- company.
In other words, one hopes the County does not offer land for free, or for $1, but at market value if County land is on the table. Nor should they be quick to dismiss any fees or permits associated with the build. The private company has already gotten provincial tax dollars. It should not get County dollars too. We encourage co-operation by the County, but not financial incentives.
The politics aside, we welcome Extendicare’s investment in our community and hope it provides many seniors with a place to go so they can comfortably live out their lives in their home County.

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