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More from Jacquie Miller Published on: May 22, 2018 | Last Updated: May 22, 2018 8:57 PM EDT ; Plz, @RichardPaulCon1

May 22nd, 2018 | by Richard Paul
More from Jacquie Miller Published on: May 22, 2018 | Last Updated: May 22, 2018 8:57 PM EDT  ; Plz, @RichardPaulCon1
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Civic Hospital site should be turned into a seniors housing village, says MPP Yasir Naqvi

From left, Green Party candidate Cherie Wong, PC candidate Colleen McCleery, Liberal incumbent Yasir Naqvi and NDP candidate Joel Harden. WAYNE CUDDINGTON / POSTMEDIA

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The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic  site should be used for seniors’ housing when the health-care facility moves to its new location in the Experimental Farm, suggests Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi.

He raised the idea during a candidates’ debate about seniors issues on Tuesday at the Glebe Centre, a long-term care home.

Naqvi said a “seniors’ village” on the Carling Avenue hospital site could include a range of housing, from units for people who want to live independently to long-term care beds.

“I had a fleeting conversation with the mayor (Jim Watson) and he seems to be quite keen about it as well,” said Naqvi,  who is also the province’s attorney general, in an interview after the meeting. The land is owned by the city.


Constituents Barbara and Michael Hicks listen to candidates at the Glebe Centre during an Ottawa Centre all candidates meeting to discuss long term care. Wayne Cuddington WAYNE CUDDINGTON / POSTMEDIA

“It’s something I want to explore and have a conversation around,” said Naqvi. The new Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital is expected to open at the new location near Dow’s Lake in 2026.

Conservative candidate Colleen McCleery said in an interview that she thought the seniors’ village was a “great idea.”

NDP candidate Joel Harden called the idea intriguing but said he’d have to look at the proposal to make sure there was affordable housing, access to transit and local food options.

During the debate, candidates for the three major parties reiterated pledges to increase the number of long-term care beds. The Liberals and Conservatives promise an additional 30,000 beds in the next 10 years; the NDP promises 40,000.

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There is a waiting list across the province of about 32,000 for long-term care beds, and the situation is expected to worsen as baby boomers age.

Barbara Hicks, 85, attended the debate with her husband Michael Hicks, 90. In an interview, she said whatever government is elected should invest in convalescent homes to provide nursing care for people who are not sick enough to require hospitalization but are too ill to go home.

That would reduce the number of expensive hospital beds now occupied by seniors who don’t need to be there, easing the pressure on overcrowded emergency rooms, said Hicks.

As for the shortage of nursing care beds, governments are to blame for not being prepared, she said.

“We have known for how many years there was going to be this enormous retirement contingent coming? It’s a lack of common sense. I’m getting into a top rant here.

“But you don’t suddenly have a huge amount of money to be throwing at these things. If you do it by planning and looking ahead, you can do this in a coherent fashion.”

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