Merrickville-Wolford council passed a resolution at their last council meeting to officially transfer the land housing the Merrickville District Community Health Centre (MDCHC) to the Rideau Community Health Services (RCHS).
The RCHS first approached the previous council with the idea of taking over the land that houses their $2 million healthcare facility last year. Because the transfer involved a severance, the request went first to the municipality’s Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) and then on to the Consent Granting Authority (CGA) of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville for approval. The severance has since been approved by both the PAC and the CGA at the County level.
Because the process straddled two terms of council, the current council had some questions for the RCHS before they gave final approval for the transfer. Deputy Mayor Michael Cameron was specifically concerned about what would happen to the land if the RCHS were to fold.
To address this, staff have been instructed to draw up a provision that would have the lands automatically transferred back to the municipality should the RCHS cease to exist. “I would be comfortable if we could include that [in the agreement],” Deputy Mayor Cameron said at the council meeting of June 24.
Council agreed to go ahead with the transfer of the lands with the provision in place. Staff will also have to draw up a new lease agreement for the parking lot area used by the Health Centre, as it will continue to be owned by the municipality.
RCHS Chair, Jacques Pelletier, addressed Council at the meeting of June 24 during the public question period, thanking them for their thorough work addressing, and finally approving, their request. “The clause makes sense to us and to the community,” he said. “But we don’t plan on giving the land back, because we are not going anywhere,” he added with a smile.