Julie Druker | Sep 16, 2015

Close to 100 guests gathered under the outdoor pavilion at the Pine Meadow Nursing Home in Northbrook on September 11 to officially celebrate its long-awaited refurbishing and upgrading from a class B facility into a “new home” rated facility, which is one step above its initial goal of becoming a category A nursing home.

Carl Gray, on behalf of the board of directors of the Land O'Lakes Community Services (LOLCS), emceed the event, which included greetings and speeches by various dignitaries, including the Warden of Lennox Addington, Gordon Schermerhorn; Addington Highlands Councilor Bill Cox; North Frontenac Councilor Vernon Hermer; Pine Meadow's current administrator Margaret Palimka and its chair of family council Brenda Martin; and representatives from Extendicare, Sharon Gilmour and Tracey Mulcahey.

The road to the facility's redevelopment has indeed been a long one. It began 14 years ago when Kim Harvey, Pine Meadow's then administrator, initiated the process, which was approved by the LOLCS and set in motion with the appointment of a planning committee.

Ernest Lapchinski, chair of Pine Meadow’s planning and building committee, has been involved in the project from the start. He also spoke at the ceremony, thanking all of the individuals and parties involved in seeing the project through to completion. These included the LOLCS; the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and Infrastructure Ontario; Georgina Thompson, first chair of the South East LHIN (Local Health Integration Network); the County of Lennox and Addington; Extendicare Canada; project manager Peter McConnachie and architect Gail Lamb; and Brian McMullen and Jamie Broeders of Frecon Construction of Kingston. Also thanked were the various local organizations and groups who supported the project, including the Northbrook Lions and Legion, as well as the staff and residents at Pine Meadow and the local and surrounding communities. Lapchinski ended his thanks by saying that, “Rural communities such as ours without significant political clout have learned that they must work together to get what is needed for our citizens and that takes persistence and passion, both of which have brought us to success”.

Other presentations included a plaque in memory of former mayor of North Frontenac, Bud Clayton, which was presented to Bill Cox. Clayton was very involved with the project and Cox said he would have been “very proud.”

A presentation was also made by Margaret Anderson on behalf of her partner Brian Lorimer, who gifted a large work he painted, titled “The Weathered Pine” to the facility. The painting depicts a tree located near the facility, one that residents often walk by on their hikes. Anderson said it demonstrates how an old, weathered tree is still beautiful and can still offer an important role in the ongoing circle of life it inhabits.

Betty Meeks, president of the residents’ council, also spoke on behalf of the residents and said that despite the refurbishing process, during which residents and staff endured “..lots of dirt, noise and confusion, ongoing changes in routine, we now have a much nicer building - brighter, bigger, and more pleasant with more areas to visit with friends and family.”

The upgrades, which cost approximately $5.5 million, were completed at the end of July, 2015. They include two extensions made to each of the two wings of the facility, which each now have 32 beds and an increased number of square footage per resident. There were also upgrades and renovations to the dining room, visiting areas, washroom facilities and outdoor facilities.

Emcee Carl Gray especially thanked the staff at Pine Meadow, who he said always, throughout the construction process “maintained a 'residents first' approach”. He also thanked the members of the Pine Meadow Management Committee, past and present, who he said “have worked tirelessly to see this redevelopment become a reality.”

Following the ceremony, staff, residents and guests enjoyed cake and refreshments, and staff gave tours of the new upgrades.

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