Town backs possible Rainycrest, Riverside merger

A step forward may have taken place Monday night to help alleviate Rainycrest Home for the Aged’s financial woes, as council voted unanimously in favour of supporting a letter from Riverside Health Care Facilities Inc. board of directors stating that Riverside and Rainycrest should be amalgamated.
But any more details than that weren’t available as of press time today, as council’s discussion of the issue Monday took place during the in-camera session of the committee of the whole preceding the regular meeting of council.
Likewise, no copy of that letter, written by Riverside board chair Craig Saunders, could be obtained by the Times, as it is being kept under wraps until both Riverside and Rainycrest are certain as to whether both parties are on the same page.
And the Rainycrest board held a meeting yesterday to discuss the issue, but that meeting was closed to the public.
But the letter from the Riverside board was not a complete surprise, as in the Oct. 20 edition of the Times, Riverside CEO Wayne Woods noted Riverside was open to the possibility of partnering with Rainycrest to keep the long-term care facility public and to help address the financial stability of the home.
The vote wasn’t unanimous, however, when council voted that same night on a request from the Rainycrest board of directors which asked for support of a motion that “the operation of Rainycrest Home for the Aged stay in within the public control.”
Mayor Dan Onichuk, and Couns. Struchan Gilson, Rick Wiedenhoeft and Neil Kabel voted in favour of this, while Couns. Drysdale, Roy Avis and Todd Hamilton did not.
Coun. Drysdale explained after the vote she felt the resolution from Rainycrest “was more general” and “wasn’t powerful enough” compared to the letter from Riverside.
Coun. Drysdale explained the difference between the two motions was that the one from Rainycrest did not preclude a private management firm being included in the final equation. “I didn’t want to entertain any discussion of a for-profit company taking over management,” she said in an interview yesterday.
“In no way, shape or form does anyone on this side of the table think Rainycrest should become a private operation,” clarified Coun. Drysdale on Monday night, referring to herself and Couns. Avis and Hamilton.
“We just believe it’s time to get on with it,” she noted during the interview yesterday. “We wanted to move forward with the Riverside offer.”
Coun. Drysdale added “no one knows what the amalgamation will look like,” but she felt it was important that the town show it’s full support of any such move, and take action towards solving the much-publicized funding woes the home for the aged has been facing.