Nova Scotia

'This affects everybody': Citizens fight plan to privatize Shelburne's Roseway Manor

Some people who live near a long–term care home in Shelburne, N.S., are trying to reverse a decision made by three municipal councils to turn the long-term care home into a for-profit facility.

The long-term care has 66 beds and is jointly owned by 3 municipalities

Roseway Manor is slated for replacement. The facility opened in 1976. (Submitted by Roy O'Donnell)

Some people who live near a long–term care home in Shelburne, N.S., are trying to reverse a decision made by three municipal councils to turn the long-term care home into a for-profit facility.

The people behind the campaign say they fear services at Roseway Manor will suffer.

"I was very upset and concerned," said Darren Stoddard, who is against the decision. "I felt there was really no public consultation and none of the three councils made any effort to make sure the community was aware of what was going on."

On Tuesday, the Town of Shelburne, the Municipality of the District of Shelburne and the Town of Lockeport announced that each council had passed motions in favour of a for–profit company taking over Roseway Manor.

It is currently operated by a municipal corporation owned by the three municipalities.

Community members say they were caught off guard when the three municipalities voted to turn Roseway Manor into a for-profit operation. (Getty Images/istockphoto)

The change in direction has come as a surprise to Roy O'Donnell, the only member of the board who is not a councillor.

He told CBC's Information Morning that all decisions were made privately. "The problem is, 'Why?' That's the question we're asking," he said. "They won't tell us, so we don't know."

Roy and Stoddard have planned a community meeting for Saturday afternoon. They believe it's not too late to keep Roseway under non–profit management.

CBC News contacted the two mayors and warden of the three municipalities for comment, but none replied.

In a news release, the municipalities say to maintain the home's non-profit status, they needed to recruit volunteers with "a matrix of skill sets to govern a long-term care facility."

"The liability of managing such a facility would reside with those community volunteers in a non-for-profit organization versus with the owners in a for–profit organization," the statement read.

Hear from Roy O'Donnell, one of the organizers behind a meeting opposing the decision to make Roseway Manor in Shelburne a private, for-profit long-term care home.

Stoddard, a teacher who ran for the NDP in the last provincial election, said he volunteered to be a part of the board, but was not accepted.

"There was no chance for anybody to even apply."

Stoddard toured the facility during the provincial campaign, and says that experience stuck with him. He said the rooms are too small for residents to safely move around, and in some cases, four people share a bathroom.

"We all are likely to end up in a long-term care facility, especially if we run into mobility issues, if there's a decline of mental health that we can no longer take care of ourselves," he said.

"This affects everybody in the community."

Roseway Manor opened in 1976, and has 66 beds.

Aging facility

Last year, the Liberals announced it was on the list of long–term care homes slated to be renovated or replaced. According to the statement from the municipalities, the replacement will still happen if the facility is under new ownership.

Stoddard is skeptical. He said a community board could continue to pressure the government and make sure Roseway is finally replaced.

Stoddard said he's been following the debate in Ontario, where a group of health experts have advised the government to abolish for–profit long–term care facilities.

"My biggest worry is loss in service. It's the No. 1 priority. We have to keep service at least where it's at," he said.

"When you start putting surplus dollars into the pockets of shareholders, instead [of] surplus dollars going back into the facility, that is a huge concern for me."

The municipalities say they are asking the province to tender out the facility, and the process will take time.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Ray

Videojournalist

Carolyn Ray is a videojournalist who has reported out of three provinces and two territories, and is now based in Halifax. You can reach her at Carolyn.Ray@cbc.ca

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