A local nursing home is getting a huge boost from the Ontario government.

On Friday, Member of Provincial Parliament Norm Miller announced that the provincial government has allocated an additional 64 beds for Fairvern Nursing Home in Huntsville.

The addition means Fairvern’s new facility will house 160 beds that will help reduce local waitlists and improve the quality of life for seniors in Muskoka.

Miller says this will help with the huge demand for long term care in the District.

“This is going to go a long way with helping with that and it’s going to help local hospitals too,” Miller said. “You end up with people in hospital who could be out in the community if you don’t have enough facilities. So, it’s good with helping our healthcare as well.” 

The new beds have been allocated from the Town of Huntsville to the District of Muskoka as management at Fairvern is being transferred to the District.

The new facility – which is being built on land donated by Pat Dubé – will also include the redevelopment of the 76 beds currently at the home and a previous approval of 20 spaces.

The result is a 160-bed long-term care home, where multiple services can be given to residents.

Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano also attended the announcement and described her excitement toward the news.

“Maybe one of the silver linings of this pandemic is that we are getting a brand new, state of the art facility,” she said. “It’s going to be built to deal with the things we’ve been dealing with through this pandemic.” 

This is one of 29 projects announced today by the province that will create 1,968 new long-term care spaces and upgrade another 1,015 spaces.

Terziano says it’s a great day for the town and all its residents, as it means not only will the home see additional beds – but it will also help create new jobs.

“This will create really important jobs in our town,” Terziano added. “A 160-bed home will probably employ about 230 people. So, it’s great for job growth in the town and it will be great for the town while it’s being built. It’s probably going to be a couple-of-years building and that will lead to a lot of jobs as well.” 

As of June 2020, there were 38,500 people on the waitlist for a long-term care bed.

Shovels for Fairvern’s new site will be in the ground by May of 2021.