Grey County council officially voted to apply to the Province for 62 more long term beds in the County.
For months, the idea had been to ask for a minimum of 90 beds and aim for 96.
But the Long Term Care Committee has been recommending 62 beds to make a total of 128 beds which many say is the best number to operate at. The committee has been talking about using those new beds to make a total of 128 beds, and create a new Grey Gables building made up of two brand new floors of 32 rooms.
Some councillors say, the existing Grey Gables could, in theory become a different kind of home to create a "campus of care," which would also be close to the planned new Grey Bruce Health Services Markdale Hospital.
County council voted to go ahead with the application for the 62 beds but it's no guarantee the Province will approve it.
If Grey County were to have 62 more beds, county staff estimate it would cost taxpayers at least $1 million more a year to run them.
Warden Selwyn Hicks says, "We're well aware that the $6.2 million that we currently spend is going to be increased by at least a million and that's the decision of council. I think everybody's well aware that there are going to be additional costs. We're getting in deeper into the long term care business."
Hicks notes the future is not set in stone. He says the provincially mandated update of facilities by 2025 only affects Rockwood Terrace in Durham in this instance, not Grey Gables which is already meeting provincial requirements.
"One of my concerns is that if we are sticking with that 2025 deadline and we're doing two major projects at once, that's going to really stretch our staff. That's also probably really going to drive up the cost because if everybody's trying to get things done by 2025, well guess what? There are limited builders who are going to say, 'You really want it done? Here is, now, the price.'"
Hicks says there are a number of unknowns in this situation and many factors that could alter council's decision.
For now, the County will wait to see if the beds are approved by the Province.