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OPSEU leaders vow to push province to overturn costly Grey Gables sell-off

Owen Sound – A group of Grey County councillors has voted down a plan that would save $1.2 million and maintain the Grey Gables long-term care facility in Markdale. But OPSEU leaders say the fight for high-quality public long-term care in the county is far from over.

“We’re not going to sit by and let these councillors waste more than a million dollars and force seniors to move farther away from their families where they’ll get lower-quality care,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

“As a group of former Grey County Wardens said: ‘Something smells’ about the Grey Gables sell-off,” said Thomas. “We’re going to make sure the next provincial health minister clears the stench by putting this scheme where it belongs: in the trash heap.”

When it was first proposed more than a year ago, county councillors voted in favour of selling Grey Gables to a private nursing home company. Current residents would be forced to move to a not-yet-built long-term care facility in Durham that would be privately managed.

Opposition to that plan has been fierce, with county residents packing town hall meetings and flooding their councillors with phone calls and emails. More than a dozen former Grey County Wardens even wrote an open letter condemning the scheme, declaring that “something smells.”

A group of citizens was so outraged that they developed a counter-proposal that would draw on a provincial promise for long-term care funding increases in order to keep Grey Gables open. That proposal would have cost the county up to $1.2 million less than the privatization scheme.

On May 10, county councillors voted on a motion inspired by the citizens’ counterproposal. One councillor who’d previously supported privatization changed his vote, but none of the others did, and the counter-proposal was rejected.

“It’s like they took $1.2 million that belongs to Grey County residents and set it on fire,” said OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “It’s an outrageous decision and we’re not going to let it stand.

“People in Grey County deserve good-quality long-term care, and that’s what we’re going to keep fighting for.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 613-329-1931
OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida: 289-439-2135