Laundry service move irks Emo council

Emo council expressed its disappointment last Tuesday night regarding a decision by the board of Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. to move the laundry service of the Emo Health Centre to Rainycrest in Fort Frances.
The service has been provided for more than two years at the laundromat in Emo owned by Colleen Vennechenko to residents in long-term care at the facility.
But the decision was made last month to move the laundry service to Rainycrest.
“It’s not a good thing for the residents or our community,” Emo Reeve Ed Carlson said at last Tuesday night’s regular council meeting.
“It’s about quality,” stressed Coun. Gerd O’Sullivan, adding she believes the residents had been getting excellent service from the local business.
A letter issued to the municipality by Riverside acknowledging their concerns stated the well-being of the patients is a priority.
And “after a lengthy review of this function, taking into consideration the financial savings, in addition to the quality of service, it is determined to do it ourselves at Rainycrest would be the best way to proceed,” the letter continued.
Riverside added that Rainycrest has the proper equipment, facilities, and experience to provide a very good service, and that pick-up and delivery of laundry will be provided six days per week.
“We will monitor this process closely, as the care and well-being of our patients is of prime importance,” the letter concluded.
But council maintained it felt the best service for the residents was at the Emo laundromat.
And the majority of the families of the long-term care residents at the Emo Health Centre must have felt the same way because they are continuing to pay for the service in Emo.
Vennechenko noted 10 of the 12 families are paying extra for her service, although they will continue to pay to have their laundry taken to Rainycrest whether they use that service or not.
Coun. Ken Fisher was adamant Emo council try to change the minds of the Riverside board, but Reeve Carlson and Coun. O’Sullivan both explained the decision was made and the situation is final.
“We don’t have to let them have the last word, though,” Reeve Carlson remarked. “We can write them a letter and let them know we are disappointed with their decision.”
In other business at last Tuesday’s meeting, Emo council discussed and made an amendment to its dog pound agreement, as the Township of Chapple had requested to temporarily use Emo’s facility until they set up one of their own.
Although the neighbouring municipality would pay a fee per dog, as well as take care of their animals there, Emo council felt if there is a need to heat the pound in winter months, Chapple should share some of those costs.
“It may not become an issue because they may have [a pound] by next year,” noted Coun. O’Sullivan.
However, Emo council agreed to charge $25 per dog in fair weather and $50 per dog in heated weather.
Also last week, Emo council:
•accepted a report from livestock valuer Nicholas Veldhuisen;
•appointed James Booth to the Emo volunteer fire department;
•heard from CMO administrator/clerk-treasurer Brenda Cooke, who attended the Rainy River District Social Service Administration Board’s “Best Start” meeting earlier that day;
•agreed to support the Township of Scugog regarding funding formula and application process for the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program;
•approved the Canada Day celebrations, complete with cake and balloons, be held on Saturday, June 30 in conjunction with the Borderland Racing Association;
•agreed to support the Town of Rainy River regarding Bill 102;
•approved a request from the Emo and District Hospital Auxiliary to hold a tag day in Emo during “Spring Fever Days” on April 20-21; and
•discussed—and eventually tabled—a request put forth by Greg Asplund regarding a rent increase of the locum apartment.
Emo council’s next regular meeting is slated for Tuesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. at the municipal office.
Council will meet with Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Ken Boshcoff beforehand.