Submitted by Dr. Brian Taylor, Golden Dawn Board of Directors
Lion’s Head, ON – The Golden Dawn Senior Citizen Home in Lion’s Head is facing major decisions regarding the need for renovations and/or rebuilding in the coming months, and the Board of the Home feels it is important that the Community of the Bruce Peninsula should be clearly informed about the issues that must be solved. There are many rumours circulating about the current situation and future plans for the Home, and the Board wants the public to hear the facts. The Staff and Residents of the Home, and the Tenants in the independent Golden Dawn Seniors’ Apartments, have already been informed of the situation.
The Golden Dawn was founded by the Rev. Sherman and Mrs Geneva Myles in 1965 in the old Williams Hotel on the site of the current building in Lion’s Head. The mission of the Home was the same as today…to care for the Senior citizens of the Bruce Peninsula in a Christian environment, regardless of race or religion. The building was expanded in 1981, and again in 2003-2004. It currently cares for 45 Long-term Care residents, and also has 21 Seniors’ Apartments for independent living. The Golden Dawn Senior Citizen Home is a not-for-profit organization run by an Administrator and CEO, and overseen by the Board. It is not owned by any private company or church, and is not subsidized by any of your municipal tax dollars (your tax dollars are supporting the County-subsidized homes such as Gateway Haven in Wiarton and Brucelea in Walkerton). Any “profits” at Golden Dawn are used for repairs or minor upgrades to the home (for example, our new standby generator), or placed in cash reserves for unexpected expenses.
The Golden Dawn provides complex Long Term Care close to home for the people of Northern Bruce Peninsula (and from elsewhere in Grey and Bruce). The importance of being cared for in your own village, or close to home, cannot be overemphasized to our residents or their families. And as for the occupants of the Seniors’ Apartments…they have a lovely building to live in at an affordable rent, and they have easy access on foot to stores, restaurants, a bank, churches, medical clinic, hospital, and can even walk to the beach!
Finally, the Golden Dawn is one of the largest employers on the Peninsula. We are proud to have staff who have been here for many years and have devoted their lives to caring for their friends and neighbours. We are facing the same staff shortages as any Long Term Care facility in Ontario, and are doing our best to bring on energetic, enthusiastic new staff members to carry on this tradition of caring.
However, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, which maintains the Standards of Care in these facilities in Ontario, has legislated changes which mandate upgrades to all 45 long term care beds, necessitating a complete rebuild. Therefore, we are faced with decisions. Both making renovations or rebuilding are extremely expensive, and we have no significant cash reserves as a not-for-profit home. But, under the new legislation, we have to redevelop. If not, 45 long term care residents will have to be moved elsewhere. Our many, experienced, new and long-serving staff would all be out of work. The economic impact on employees and their families could be devastating. The economic impact on Lion’s Head and the Municipality would be major. And, the independent apartments would still require some form of administration.
After many Board meetings, and consultations with families, residents, tenants, politicians, Seniors’ groups, financial advisors, and members of the public, the Board has concluded that the Golden Dawn is still a valuable and necessary resource for the Citizens of the Bruce Peninsula. In fact, the Golden Dawn is currently the only Long Term Care Facility in the Municipality of Northern Bruce, and ironically receives no tax funding from our citizens. In short, the Board of the Golden Dawn wants to rebuild. But the Board recognizes that this will only be possible with much financial support and expert advice.
We envision building a new state of the art Long Term Care Facility on the land that we already own to the West of the current building. The current long term care rooms would be renovated into additional independent living Seniors’ apartments, to satisfy the current very long waiting list for these units. However, preliminary estimates for the cost of building a new Long Term Care Facility and renovating to add more Seniors’ apartments are between $15 million and $20 million.
These plans are exciting, and in fact the rebuild is much-needed. Our Board is adding new members with expertise in planning and financing and fundraising. But we cannot commit to going ahead with the rebuild until we can determine how to fund this plan in a not-for profit organization.
We are exploring different options to fund the redevelopment of the Golden Dawn, and some of these options may require extensive and generous private citizen donation help in addition to corporate and government donations. For now, the Golden Dawn has no plans to close its doors, and for the time being it is business as usual. And, finally, consider this fact: 62% of the population on the Bruce Peninsula is now over 55 years of age. You may be asked to in some way support a beloved landmark institution that you, or one of your loved ones, may well need in the years ahead!
A Message from the Board of the Golden Dawn Senior Citizen Home.