Seniors in Belleville and Greater Napanee will soon have more options for long-term care. Construction will be underway shortly at the Lennox and Addington County General Hospital in Napanee and at Westgate Lodge in Belleville, as part of the Ontario government’s $6.4 billion commitment to provide more than 30,000 new beds by 2028 and 28,000 upgraded long-term care beds across the province.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the Lennox and Addington County General Hospital in Napanee on the afternoon of Thursday, Jun. 29, 2023. Many officials turned out for the ceremony, although no one from Napanee Council was present at the event.
“We are proud to join forces with the Ministry of Long-Term Care in the construction of a new long-term care home, demonstrating our commitment to meeting the unique needs of seniors in rural communities,” said Wayne Coveyduck, President & CEO of Lennox and Addington County General Hospital (LACGH). “With this project, we aim to create a model facility that goes beyond providing comfortable living spaces by incorporating innovative design and personalized care. Together, we will enhance the lives of seniors, fostering a sense of belonging and community where they can thrive and maintain connections with their loved ones.”
According to a release from the province dated Thursday, Jun. 29, 2023, the new state-of-the-art 128-bed home at LACGH in Napanee is expected to welcome residents in spring 2025 and will be part of a campus of care, which helps integrate the long-term care home into the broader health care system, ensuring that residents can conveniently connect to the care they need.
“The long-term care centre is going to be built on to the hospital,” Coveyduck stated at the ceremony. “So to move a patient back and forth is going to be connected… With that connection to long-term care, you got all the primary care and allied services that’s available to our community. And we were fortunate enough to be able to buy the building across the street that we’re turning into a development. So what you see right here is an entire health hub.”
The new home will be adjacent to the existing local seniors centre, health care services, and a satellite dialysis service. It will also offer six negative pressure beds, which support infection control and operate as isolation rooms.
“Congratulations to Lennox and Addington County General Hospital and Westgate Lodge on their ground-breakings for two long-term care homes,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Long-Term Care. “Our government is fixing long-term care and a key part of that plan is building modern, safe, and comfortable homes for our seniors.”
Calandra continued, “I’m really, really excited about this because it is part of a campus of care… It is part of developing communities where hospitals, long-term care, and… home care can all participate in providing the highest quality of care on one campus, taking away the worry and stress that goes along with aging. So it is something that I’m very, very excited about.”
“Today’s construction starts represent significant milestones. When these two projects are completed, 288 residents will have a new place to call home, near their family and friends.”
When asked about the obstacles the provincial government has been facing in the creation of new long-term care facilities — which the minister referred to several times — Calandra was open in his response. “We’ve been very clear if there is an obstacle, whether it’s site plan approvals or municipal zoning issues… I will ask the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to provide me with a ministerial zoning order to remove the obstacle,” Calandra told Kingstonist.
The minister mentioned that a facility his own community of Stouffville has taken over 19 months to get shovels in the ground. “The home could have been open and operating now, and I’ve frankly just lost my patience — and I know the premier has as well,” he said, noting that most participants in the process are aware of the importance of moving quickly on such developments.
“By and large, our municipal partners have been working [well] with us, because they understand how important it is to get shovels in the ground and start building long-term care homes. But there have been those who have resisted that, and have site-plan approvals of projects that [had been] approved two years ago, that are still waiting to get done,” Calandra continued, though he did not comment on the Town of Greater Napanee specifically.
Instead, the minister turned his attention to the LACGH CEO.
“Campuses of care, what you’re seeing here, is very, very important to what we are doing across the province of Ontario. And as modest as you are about it, it is your vision… that you have been talking about for months and years,” the minister said, addressing Coveyduck.
“You are one of the first, and we are copying this in a lot of different parts of the province, big and small communities… I thank you, because your work and the work of your team and your board are helping transition health care across the province.”
The redevelopment of Westgate Lodge will be completed in two phases, the government noted. The first phase is expected to start welcoming new residents in fall 2025. The finished home will bring a total of 160 new and upgraded long-term care beds to Belleville.
Once completed, both homes will feature design improvements including larger resident common areas and air conditioning throughout the home. According to the release, both designs are centered around “resident home areas” to create more intimate and familiar living spaces for up to 32 residents, incorporating dining areas, activity areas, lounges, and bedrooms.
The development of the new beds at Lennox and Addington County General Hospital is being made possible by an agreement between the Ministry of Long-Term Care and the Ontario Financing Authority (OFA), which helps hospital long-term care development projects unlock lending opportunities and reduce borrowing costs.
“In this region, we have had a long-standing need for more long-term care beds. With this project, I’m thankful to the Ontario government for fulfilling its commitment to provide long-term care homes for those in need so they can stay in our community. I’m also very appreciative of all the work by Wayne Coveyduck and the entire Lennox and Addington County General Hospital staff to make this partnership happen,” noted Ric Bresee, MPP for Hastings, Lennox and Addington.
With files from Michelle Dorey Forestell.