Wednesday, 28 February 2018 12:32

Fairmount Home Strategic Plan

Lisa Hirvi, the Administrator of Fairmount Home, presented the broad outline of the strategic planning exercise that Fairmount staff has undertaken to a meeting of Frontenac County Council last week.

Fairmount Home, a 128 bed long term care facility, is located on the same property as the Frontenac County Offices in Glenburnie, in rural Kingston. The Home is owned and operated by Frontenac County. It is not only the largest and most valuable physical asset of Frontenac County, it is also one of the two largest services that the county offers. Upper tier municipalities in Ontario, such as Frontenac County, are required to operate or participate in funding a long term care facility and Fairmount satisfies that requirement for Frontenac County. Although access to long term care facilities is not effected by municipal borders, residents of the southeastern portion of Frontenac County have made Fairmount their home of choice, as it is for many residents of Kingston and other municipalities in the region.

Over ten years ago, Fairmount made a commitment to the Gentlecare philosophy, which the Home defines in the following way on their web page: “resident-focused care which empowers residents to make as many choices as possible. Staff knows each resident and responds to their social as well as psychological and physical needs. They put the resident first before the task at hand and acknowledge that risk is a normal part of life. Most importantly, they treat the residents as they would wish to be treated.”

The new Strategic Plan reasserts the commitment to Gentlecare, listing it as the key means of accomplishing the #1 goal identified in the Strat Plan: “to provide quality care and meet the diverse and unique needs of our residents”.

The other goals that were identified in the plan include: being the preferred place to work and volunteer in the local health care sector; expanding engagement with broader community and system partners, and; ensuring Fairmount operates efficiently while striving for continuous improvement.

Among the key goals identified in the plan is to identify the generational needs of staff and incorporate flexibility.

“This is something we have had to do recently,” Hirvi pointed out, “as the Administrator and Director of Care positions have turned over. We will deal with other challenges as we move forward, and making sure we are a good place to work is important in enabling us to recruit people.”

In receiving the report, one of the members of Frontenac County Council asked about the necessity to promote and market Fairmount, given that the home already has a long waiting list and has had one for years.

“We need to maintain and enhance our contacts with the community and with our funders, in the interest of patients. Fairmount is a community asset, we need to have a public profile,” Hirvi said.

After Hirvi’s presentation was received and the plan was adopted, Frontenac County Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender informed Council that the Province of Ontario had just put out a “Request for Expression of Interest” in creating new long term care beds.

Although Councilors expressed concern over potential increases in costs, Pender pointed out that if Fairmount were 50% larger, certain administration costs would not go up, leading to efficiencies and relative cost savings. “With 172 beds there is still only one Administrator, one Director of Care, one food service,” Pender said.

By responding to the call, the county would not be making any commitment.

“It will be up to council to decide whether to go ahead with anything, Pender said, also pointing out that the debenture for the most recent expansion of Fairmount will be paid off in 2022.

“We could build without having to make any change in our budget if it only meant continuing with a new debenture after 2022,” Pender said.

Council instructed Pender to prepare a submission to the Request for Expressions of Interest.

Published in FRONTENAC COUNTY

Budget article update - Wednesday 6:00 pm

(At their meeting today, Frontenac County Council considered proposals which would have brought their 2018 budget levy down by up to $150,000, but in the end only managed to make the most superficial of cuts to the document.

But pity the poor foster kids!

A 6,000 expenditure to support a scholarship program for foster children in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, was cut from the budget. The impact of the cut was to lower the budget levy by 0.06%. The only other change to the budget that was made by council was to remove another $6,400 from taxation by cutting almost half of the budget for a parking lot restoration project at the county offiuce/Fairmount Home complex.

All in the levy to ratepayers has been reduced from $9.775 million to $9.763 million, a decrease of a little over a tenth of one per cent. The net increase in the levy to ratepayers has been set a 4.4%.

The other potential changes that would have had a greater impact did not have enough support from Council to come to fruition.

A motion to cut the $55,061 contribution to the University Hospital Foundation of Kingston, which was made by North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins, did not receive a seconder.

The only major dispute of the morning came when Warden Ron Vandewal proposed that the ambulance that is stationed on Wolfe Island could be replaced with a cheaper option using a single paramedic and a first response vehicle. The transport ambulance would come from Kingston off the soon to be upgraded ferry service. This would save about $100,000 per year, and a portion of those savings would go to Frontenac County ratepayers.

Chief of Paramedic Services Paiul Charbonneau said that the alternative service would be a good fit for Wolfe Islands and would serve the residents as well as the traditional ambulance that has been phased in.

That did not sit well with Frontenac Islands Mayor Dennis Doyle however.

“Just like we voted to support the K&P Trail and Economic Development, I would ask that the county support the residents of Wolfe Island by completing the phase-in of ambulance service that this council started in 2015.”

Council stood with Doyle.

The draft 2018 budget thus remained intact, with the only losers from today’s process being part of a parking lot and a foster child who will not get a scholarship.

Overall spending for Frontenac County, which stood at $41.3 milliom in the draft budget, remains at $41.3 million. The $26,000 decrease in total expenditures (0.06%) falls within the rounding error.

The following was published before the meeting on Wednesday morning, and is based on the content of the draft budget, which as explained above, has remained fundamentally intact in its final incarnation

 

Perhaps Kelly Pender sky dives on the weekends, but in his working life the Frontenac County Chief Administrative Officer is averse to risk and drama. As far as the annual Frontenac County budget is concerned, he has been preaching from the gospel of predictable, controlled budget increases over time.

This has taken a lot of the drama out of the annual Frontenac County budget process, which was never a riveting spectacle to witness even before Pender took the helm.

This year Frontenac County Council has moved away from the very general; approving the parameters of the budget in conceptual terms in September, to the very specific; looking at individual projects as add-ons to the budget in late October.

This week they received, for the first and likely the last time, a draft budget document. It contains few surprises.

The number that matters in 2018 will be $9,775,000, that’s how much will be levied to the four Frontenac Townships if Council accepts the budget as presented Wednesday morning (This article will be updated on Frontenacnews.ca at that time) The townships will then collect that money from Frontenac County properties.

This projected levy is over $400,000 higher than it was in 2017, an increase of 4.5%.

Most of that increase came about as the result of previous decisions by this Council.

They indicated at their meeting in September that they would like to see an operating budget, including service enhancements, come in at under 1.5%, the figure for the increase in the consumer price index (CPI) for the year as calculated in late August.

Treasurer Susan Brandt, working her first budget as the lead official (she was the Deputy Treasurer until replacing the retired Marion Vanbruinessen earlier this year) followed last year’s practice and added 0.6% to that target, based on figures for the projected increase in property assessment that was provided by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.

By keeping the operating budget increase to 1.1% ($104,117), adding 0.89% ($83,550) for new projects, and using $88,000 from reserve funds, the result was a 2% increase. This increase includes a new overnight Personal Support Worker shift at Fairmount Home and a new Human Resources position, as well as $35,000 for the Economic Development Department.

Added to the 2% increase from this year’s process are increases resulting from commitments made earlier in the mandate of this council. The largest of those is 1.78% ($166,7782) for two service enhancements of the Frontenac Paramedic Services, which are being phased in. One is on Wolfe Island, which is now fully funded, and the other is the second of three increases for a new overnight ambulance in Kingston. Another 0.65% ($60,787) is devoted to increase the reserve fund for capital projects, which has been in place for three years now and will continue to effect future budgets.

All together, the increase rounds off to just about 4.5%

Because of the incremental process and the weight of prior commitments, there is little to be decided when the entire package is presented this week. All of the spending increases have been approved in principle at previous meetings, but Council is not bound by those prior decisions.

Based on the discussions that took place earlier, the only item that is at all likely to re-surface is the commitment to provide $55,000 each year for ten year to the University Hospital Foundation of Kingston. That was approved in a vote of 6-3 and may come up for a final vote before the budget is signed, sealed and delivered.

Whether approved with or without amendments, the enacting bylaw for the budget will not be before Council until their meeting on December 20th.

(Frontenac County’s overall spending budget for 2018 will be $41.3 million, up 3% ($1.2 million) from 2017. Most of the money required to deliver Frontenac County Services is provided by the Province of Ontario and the City of Kingston, which provide the lion’s share of funding for the two largest County operations (Fairmount Home and Frontenac Paramedic Services)

Published in FRONTENAC COUNTY
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 10:28

Award winner

Just five months into her tenure as Fairmount Home’s permanent Administrator, Lisa Hirvi received the inaugural Donna Rubin Administrator Leadership Program Award at the AdvantAge Ontario annual convention in Toronto on April 21.

Hirvi received the award for earning top marks for her case study during last winter’s AdvantAge Ontario Administrator Leadership Program, which is structured to meet requirements for Long Term Care Home Administrators under the Long Term Care Homes Act, 2007. AdvantAge Ontario has delivered this program successfully for 21 years and boasts more than 1,400 participants.

Hirvi became the permanent Administrator at Fairmount Home in December 2016 after assuming the role of Interim Administrator in January of that same year.

The AdvantAge Ontario Leadership Program Award was established in honour of Donna Rubin, who was the organization’s CEO for more than 26 years. Rubin was a committed, accomplished and inspiring leader and champion of not-for-profit seniors’ care. AdvantAge Ontario represents and supports not-for-profit organizations that play a role in the provision of senior care in Ontario.

Fairmount Home is a not-for-profit long term care home, managed through the Gentlecaretm philosophy by the County of Frontenac and is accredited with Exemplary Standing, Accreditation Canada's highest designation. Fairmount Home was established in 1968 and is home to 128 residents.

Published in FRONTENAC COUNTY
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 10:46

Canada 150 at Fairmount Home

Fairmount Home will offer residents a unique way to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary this year thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Kingston (CFKA).

20 - 30 residents at the home will enroll in an arts program called History Through Expression. The program involves hand drum making, drumming, indigenous singing, seated dancing, and storytelling. It will run 14 weeks starting in March and will culminate in a performance at Fairmount Home on June 30.

“We are so grateful to receive this CFKA grant, which will fund 3 aboriginal teachers, an arts educator, a dance teacher plus drum-making supplies,” said Lisa Hirvi, administrator at Fairmout Home. “The program will offer rich and meaningful activities for our residents, honour indigenous traditions and celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.”

Fairmount Home is a not-for-profit long term care home, managed by Frontenac County. It has been in existence since 1968 and is home to 128 residents.

Published in FRONTENAC COUNTY

The one constant at Fairmount Home, through all its renovations and changes, from a 96-bed municipal home for the aged, to a Class D and then a Class A nursing home with 128 beds, has been the smiling face of Mary Lake.

As director of care, Lake has watched over the residents at Fairmount through all those years, and she will retire at the end of this week.

“I literally grew up in long-term care,” she said in an interview on Monday. Not only has she worked in long-term care for over 40 years, she started working summers in a nursing home when she was a young teenager.

“My grandmother owned the Picton Manor, and as soon as school let out each summer I would head over there to work. I changed beds, did cleaning, whatever was needed.”

A lifelong Frontenac County resident, Mary Lake was raised at Elginburg (in what was then Pittsburgh Township), where she attended public school. She went to Sydenham High School, and then studied Nursing at the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) School of Nursing. After graduating in 1972, she took a job at KGH.

In 1974, she started working as a long-term care nurse, and aside from a short stint at Kingston's Prison for Women in 1984 (as a nurse not an inmate) she has remained working in long-term care ever since.

She took on the job of director of care at the municipally owned Fairmount Home for the Aged in 1987.

She has seen a lot of changes at Fairmount over the years. When she first started there, the home was licensed, and funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, not the Ministry of Health, which now oversees all long-term care facilities under a single set of rules under the Long Term Care Act of 2007.

“We were a country home, and we served the residents of Frontenac County mostly, at that time. The care we delivered was always excellent, but the facility was not what it was today,” she said.

All of the rooms at Fairmount had two beds, and the rooms did not have private bathrooms or showers. It was more of a dormitory-style facility with a single dining room for all 96 residents.

Improvements to the level of care came with new standards of care in the 1990s. As director of care, Lake was in charge of operations at the home, including nursing and personal support workers as well as all of the support staff in the home. The administration of Fairmount was taken care of by Frontenac County. She helped the home maintain its reputation as a caring facility, for families and residents to feel safe and well supported.

When municipal amalgamation took place in the late 1990s, Frontenac County decided to keep Fairmount Home, even though its location was becoming subsumed by the City of Kingston when it annexed Pittsburgh and Kingston Townships.

The Chief Administrators of the new County, first Bob Foulds and later Elizabeth Savill, became administrators of Fairmount, giving Mary Lake someone to report directly to.

When all long-term care facilities started to come under the same set of standards and regulations, Fairmount was designated as a Class D facility because of the physical limitations of the home. It was faced with a choice to upgrade or close, and this led to a long, sometimes difficult, set of negotiations with the City of Kingston and the province, funding partners of Fairmount, over plans to renovate.

The $17 million upgrade eventually got underway in 2003, and this led to a challenging period for Lake as director of care, ensuring that residents were well cared for and as well prepared as possible for the changes that took place.

“Through attrition we dropped to 78 beds, and when the new section was completed, the residents all moved there as the old section was completely retrofitted. In 2004 everything was complete and we became the 128-bed facility that we are today,” said Lake.

Once the new state of the art facility was complete, a new challenge faced Mary Lake.

“We had to get used to the change, and change is difficult, even positive change. We lost our culture of care for a while when the new Fairmount opened. Our staff took some time to transition, but we worked hard at it and we got it back. It took about a year,” she said.

Aside from the physical changes in the early 2000s, the home also acquired a full time administrator. Under the regulations, Class A municipal homes must have a full time administrator and full time director of care.

“If I ever wanted to be an administrator,” Lake said, "I would have been one, but I always wanted to be involved in the service end of things. I never wanted to have any other job than the one I kept.”

Ironically, however, that is the role she is retiring from. She has been filling in for Julie Shillington, the full time administrator, who has been on a leave of absence for health reasons and will not return until later this year.

As Lake looks back at her career, she says that while tightened up regulations were a good change in long term care, the ministry has gone too far, leaving homes with more concerns about rules and less time for care.

“They have really gone too far with regulations, because there isn't enough staff available to cover all the requirements and still provide the kind of care that we all want to provide. That is why we came into long term care in the first place, not just to comply with regulations but because we want to provide care,” she said.

Another issue faced by the home is the push for ageing at home, which Lake said is a good thing. However it has meant that people do not come into care until they are at a point where their needs are greater. As well, there is pressure on Fairmount, and other homes, to provide care for patients with mental health issues that are more severe than the home can handle.

“There is a gap in the health care system for these people and they get shuffled around,” she said.

One of Mary Lake's major professional and volunteer interests is providing service to those suffering from dementia. Many of the residents at Fairmount have dementia of varying forms and levels of severity. The home has a wing devoted to those with advanced dementia.

She has been a board member for years with the Alzheimer's Society and has volunteered with Southern Frontenac Community Services to run Alzheimer's support services.

“It is very trying on families, on other residents at Fairmount, and of course on those with dementia themselves and the staff who care for them,” she said, “but we have learned. The drugs are better and the techniques for helping people have advanced over the years,” she said.

While she said she has no plans for retirement other than a summer at the cottage, it will be impossible for her to stay completely away from her calling. She expects that by next fall she will be looking for a part-time volunteer role doing something.

No doubt it will involve looking after people in some capacity or another.

Published in 150 Years Anniversary

There is nothing like the sound of young singers to put a smile on your face. That was the case for residents at the Fairmount home in Glenburnie, who were treated to a performance by the Elginburg Public School Choir on May 14.

Melissa Clyde, who is one of two recreation planners employed at the home, said that intergenerational programming is one way to get youngsters together with residents at the home. In this case it was the school who contacted Clyde's associate Katie Johnson, asking if they could come and perform for the residents.

The choir, which consists of 38 students from grades two through seven, sang an impressive and lively repertoire under the direction of Jennifer Guild, who teaches grade three at the school. The choir performed seven songs that included a number of their own personal favorites, including “Firework” and “Roar” by Katy Perry, Serena Ryder's “Sing, Sing”, The Trews' “Highway of Heroes” and Cindy Lauper's 1980s classic “True Colours”.

The choir often performs Christmas concerts at local seniors’ homes and Guild said that it was the choir members themselves who asked to sing at the Fairmount Home this time around. Guild herself has been singing since she was in grade four. She attended a performing arts school in Sudbury and has studied music privately since then. She has been heading up the Elginburg choir for the last six years and said that she believes strongly that music gives children “a great and very positive way to express themselves”. Guild says she makes a habit of trying to chose songs that are inspirational and ones that the students are familiar with and enjoy singing.

The concert wrapped up with a special guest appearance by Kingston singer/songwriter Emily Fennell who, with the help of the choir performed one of her latest songs titled “Love, War, Hope, Change” from her newest CD, “Rise”. The song is one of two that she will be performing with the Elginburg choir at her upcoming CD release concert, where she will be performing with her full band, which includes Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker from the Tragically Hip. The family-friendly concert will take place on Friday May 30 at 7:30pm at the Ambassador Hotel at in Kingston.

Fennell said she chose the Elginburg choir to perform with her since she “fell in love with their sound” when she heard them perform years ago when her daughter was a member. She said she likes to give youth interested in music an opportunity to perform in front of an audience. “These kind of opportunities for young singers are few and far between and are experiences they can learn from and will remember for a life time.”

Tickets for the upcoming concert are $15 for adults, $10 for children and are available at the Taylor Auto Mall at 2440 Princess Street in Kingston.

Residents of the Fairmount Home thoroughly enjoyed the performance and resident June Gamble, who has three grandchildren and six great grand children of her own, said, “You can always count on youngsters to steal the show.” Resident Georgina Smith agreed and said that it's always a treat to hear the voices of young singers.

 

Published in SOUTH FRONTENAC
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 19:00

Frontenac County Taxes Headed Up By 2.5%

Frontenac County will be taking more money from ratepayers in 2014 than it did in 2013

It won't be finalized until later this month, but after four sessions, Frontenac County Council is set to vote on a budget that is little changed from the one originally presented to them by Treasurer Marian Vanbruinessen.

In December, Council passed a motion asking for two versions of the 2015 budget, one with a 1% increase, and one with a 1% decrease.

What they received, and this caused some friction, was a budget that included an increase of over 3.5%, with some proposed costs for Council to discuss.

“I'm confused and disappointed by this,” said South Frontenac Mayor Gary Davison. “Maybe I missed something but we asked for 1%. Were there no meetings of senior managers to look for small savings in their budgets?”

“We brought items forward for you to discuss in closed and open session which would have brought that outcome about. You are aware that we started in a bit of a hole because last year $150,000 was taken from reserves to keep the levy down, which is not something that is sustainable as a budgeting practice,” replied Vanbruinessen.

“I suppose it was wishful thinking on our part, but we were hoping that staff could find a way to get the budget to where we wanted it without cutting service,” said North Frontenac Councilor John Inglis.

Among the cuts that Vanbruinessen proposed was the option of turning down a request for an extra $10,000 from Frontenac Transportation Services, but Council left the money in. Another option was to delete $12,700 for an end of term warden's reception; however that was cut to $5,000.

Although the bulk of the proposed cuts, none of which were approved, were discussed in lengthy closed session meetings, it did slip out in open session that one of them was to close the Wolfe Island ambulance base. This did not happen.

As well, sources indicated that downgrading some management staff in the county administration, which would have meant pay cuts for the people in those positions, was also on the table.

Vanbruinessen did find some savings and brought the budget from its initial 3.5% impact to 2.5%. She also said that growth, mostly in South Frontenac, would cover 1.5% of the increase, leaving the final increase at only 1% over growth.

The County budget represents about 20% of property taxation. The county increase is trending lower than the increase in most Frontenac township budgets. Central Frontenac and South Frontenac are both sitting at increases in the range of 5% and North Frontenac is just now starting to look at their 2014 budget. The county rate, at 2.5% along with a flat increase in education taxes, will end up tempering the cost for ratepayers in 2014.

Reserves freed up

While some members of council did not feel they had much success in reining in the 2014 budget, council did get a chance to deal with the state of the county's reserves. Of the 30 reserve funds the county has for various purposes, there are a half a dozen that have become larger than was ever intended. So, at a budget meeting on February 5, Council took some time to look at the reserve.

Based on recommendations from a consultant's report, they cut the working fund reserve to $1.2 million, enough to cover any potential cash flow issues without having to resort to borrowing. This left a pool of $2.7 million, which was parked temporarily in a holding fund. After going through the rest of the reserve funds, that pool now sits at $3.5 million.

Frontenac Islands Mayor Dennis Doyle proposed that $2.7 million be transferred to the local township councils for local projects (roads, bridges, buildings, etc) but this was not supported.

County Warden (and North Frontenac Mayor) Bud Clayton said that the county should look at putting the money towards long-term replacement of capital assets to keep future residents from budget increases as ambulances bases, Fairmount Home and County offices age.

In the end, Councilor John McDougall, who was chairing the budget sessions, suggested that the allocation of the $3.5 million could take place after the budget is completed.

“My suggestion is that that discussion not happen during our budget discussion, our object is to get the budget straightened around,” said McDougall, and council concurred.

Published in FRONTENAC COUNTY
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 19:00

Sydenham Legion Poppy Fund Donations

Members of the Sydenham Legion Branch #496 work hard each year to sell poppies in the community, and last week the results of those efforts were marked with the donation of $2,000 each to Fairmount Home and to the Kingston Military Families Support Program.

“The money that is going to Fairmount Home will be spent on whatever is needed to improve the Veterans' lounge at the home. There are about 20 veterans living at Fairmount and it is nice that they have a lounge. If they need new couches, a TV, whatever it is, they can use this money. The military families support program runs many programs and they can always use money to help with their work,” said Jeannie Davis, the Poppy Campaign Chair at the Sydenham Legion.

The Legion decided to make the presentations so that the community can be aware of the local use that the poppy funds are put to. Jeannie Davis said that the campaign volunteers are the ones who are responsible for its success each year

Published in SOUTH FRONTENAC

Treasurer identifies potential cuts to cover the increase

In the preamble to the draft 2014 Frontenac County budget, Treasurer Marian VanBruinessen referred to a directive that Council passed in December. The directive asked her to present two alternative budget scenarios, one with a 1% increase in taxation and another with a 1% decrease in taxation. The directive also said that the practice of using reserve funds to offset taxation should end. In 2013, $150,000 (which translates to 1.86% of the budget) was transferred from reserves to offset taxation.

Describing the directive as “not clear in its wording,” VanBruinessen said that “as the strategies required to bring forward budget scenarios in line with Council’s direction involve substantial policy decisions, staff has provided discussion items for consideration … directions for discussion will provide strategies that might be pursued by Council to move towards the 1% reduction or 1% increase."

The draft budget that is being debated by Council this week provides for a requisition of $8.48 million, an increase of $316,000 (3.88%) over last year.

VanBruinessen also pointed to items that could be trimmed from the budget. The total value of those items is just under $300,000, which would cover almost all of the increase.

Among the discussions items are the elimination of $5,200 for council attendance at conferences and $7,500 for the end of term warden’s reception. A $10,000 increase in the annual grant to Frontenac Transportation Service is also on the chopping block. As well, the possibility of slowly weaning the budget from a dependence on reserve transfers could be considered. If $50,000 is taken from reserves it would still represent a 2/3 decrease while helping to balance the budget.

Another $220,280 in savings was identified in three different items that Council can only discuss in closed session because they “have contract implications”.

Taken together, these options would save $295,000.

The budget also includes a cost of $1.62 million to county ratepayers for the operation of Frontenac Paramedic Services, a 4.59% increase over 2013; $1.03 million to Fairmount Home, an increase of 2.12% over 2013; and $142,500 for economic development, an increase of 10%.

Frontenac County Council has two blocks of time set aside this week to discuss the budget. If necessary, they will meet again in early February with a view towards approving the budget at their regular monthly meeting on February 19

Published in FRONTENAC COUNTY

Residents of Addington Highlands and North and Central Frontenac will finally have the benefit of a Class “A” Nursing Home, no thanks to Frontenac County.

A class “A” home is something that residents of Kingston and the southern portion of Frontenac County have enjoyed for a number of years. That’s because Fairmount Home, which is owned by Frontenac County residents, was the subject of a $17 million upgrade in 2004, an upgrade that we are still paying for through a debenture that remains part of the annual Frontenac County budget to this day. Fairmount Home’s operating costs are also subsidized by municipal tax dollars, in addition to provincial funding and resident fees. And this year Frontenac County Council has decided to go ahead with a $2 million upgrade to the Fairmount Home auditorium, an ancillary building attached to the home.

Municipal taxes are spent on many different priorities, from roads to waste to social services and education, and the fact that a relatively small amount goes towards maintaining a comfortable, caring long-term care facility located in rural Kingston just outside the county’s borders is fine by me. The residents of Fairmount Home deserve the best we can offer as a community, and that costs money. If that means some of my tax dollars help someone who lives south of the 401 get better long-term care, that’s ok too.

Over a number of years, municipal politicians from North Frontenac Township have asked Frontenac County to contribute to another home that is located just outside of Frontenac County. Pine Meadow Nursing Home is in the hamlet of Northbrook in L&A County. It is a not-for-profit long-term care facility that is community owned. As such, it does not receive operating funds from municipal tax dollars. It must get by solely on provincial funding and resident fees.

Land O’Lakes Community Services, the owner of Pine Meadow, does not have the kind of resources that Frontenac or L&A County have. Its reserve funds are measured in the thousands, not the tens of millions. It took a long time for them to get financing in place to upgrade Pine Meadow to the “A” class.

L&A County Council recognised this situation several years ago and in addition to handsomely supporting the John Parrot Home, a class “A” home they own in Napanee, they committed a small amount of money, $25,000 per year for ten years, to be put towards the Pine Meadow upgrade.

For a half dozen years, politicians from North Frontenac made an annual plea for a 10-year, $25,000 annual commitment to the Pine Meadow redevelopment project from Frontenac County Council, but the request was always refused.

The reasons that were offered were never convincing. On one occasion North Frontenac councilors were told that Pine Meadow is not located in Frontenac County - not a really good answer, when you consider that Fairmount Home is not located in Frontenac County either. They were also told Frontenac County was not inclined to support a private sector home, which Pine Meadow is not.

Frontenac County Council was also asked to help with the fund-raising for Kingston General Hospital’s capital project several years ago. Noting that KGH is the regional hospital, Frontenac County said yes, and have made an annual payment of $40,000 ever since.

Even when it was demonstrated that almost half of the 60 residents of Pine Meadow come from Frontenac County, that same Council turned a deaf ear to a similar argument that Pine Meadow is the regional long-term care facility that serves the northern part of Frontenac County.

The bottom line is that Pine Meadow has received no support from Frontenac County for its redevelopment. With a $40 million annual budget, and over $5 million in its working fund reserves, $25,000 per year was too much for the majority of Frontenac County councilors to commit to the comfort of the frail elderly who happen to live closer to Highway 7 than to Highway 401.

Nonetheless, Pine Meadow will continue to welcome Frontenac County residents with open arms. 

Published in FRONTENAC COUNTY
Page 1 of 2