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Long-term solution for Rainycrest close

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An independent consultant has made a number of recommendations regarding the future of Rainycrest Home for the Aged, with Fort Frances Mayor Dan Onichuk saying local municipalities are one step closer to finding a “long-term, permanent solution” to the problems with the home.

“It was very, very well-received by all the municipalities,” the mayor noted Friday. “I believe it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Mayor Onichuk said details of the recommendations could not be released at this time because a formal agreement has yet to be signed, but that negotiations soon will begin with Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc.

“There’s a lot of detail that needs to be negotiated,” he said.

Independent consultant Scott Rowand was hired by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care earlier this year to investigate the options for Rainycrest and make a recommendation on how to proceed.

Rowand met with the home’s board of management, municipal reps, current and former administration at the home, as well as residents and the home’s family council.

“He has had discussions with the ministry and effectively has come up with a proposed resolution that is based on a lot of the things the board of management was looking for, and ultimately in the best interests of the residents,” Mayor Onichuk said.

Rowand presented his recommendations to municipal reps on Wednesday.

“I’m thrilled with the deal,” said Fort Frances Coun. Tannis Drysdale. “Everyone in the room was happy with it.”

The memorandum of agreement is expected to be signed within the next two weeks, then negotiations on the details will begin between the Riverside and Rainycrest boards.

“It’s been a very hot and heated debate over the last year,” the mayor said.

“[But] we’ve got the makings of a good agreement all the way around that would be in the best interests of the municipalities, the ratepayers, and, most importantly, the care of the residents themselves.

“It’s something I believe will be a long-term answer for the home,” he added.

Back in March, the Rainycrest board agreed to grant the ministry a 90-day extension on its control order on the home in order to explore a permanent solution.

The ministry had taken control of the home on March 18, 2005 and named Riverside the interim administrator.

At a special meeting of the Rainy River District Municipal Association last month in Barwick, municipal reps voted in favour of negotiations to make Riverside the permanent administrator of Rainycrest.

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