Written By: Friday, May 19th 2017

With just a week left before a decision on long term care in Grey County, supporters of Grey Gables are gearing up for another rally Friday afternoon in Markdale.

They don’t much like the proposal to close their facility and move it to Durham where a new, larger 166-bed home would be built incorporating Grey Gables and Rockwood Terrace beds.

OPSEU Chair Joan Corradetti tells Dock News while its likely all unionized Grey Gables workers would be offered positions at the new facility, some may not be able to make it work and that would be a shame for both workers and residents who’ve become like family to each other.

She says the community couldn’t have made themselves more clear and councillors need to consider the impact of their decision, packing public meetings, rallying, canvassing door to door and collecting thousands of signatures on a petition.

“The community is saying NO. Leave us alone. If you want something in Durham, go ahead in build it, but leave us alone.”

Friday’s rally is planned for 2pm outside Grey Gables in Markdale.

Friday also marks Personal Support Worker Day in Ontario.

The County says it cannot continue to sustain two separate homes in both communities under new provincial guidelines and funding coming down the pike.

They’re expected to make their decision at their May 25 meeting.

Here is the letter written by OPSEU and issued by Warren (Smokey) Thomas

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.”