P3 makes deadline --but just (and owes $1 M in back taxes and penalties)

A Windsor developer met the requirements set by the Ministry of Health and LTC to proceed with turning the former Grace Hospital site into a long-term care facility, the Windsor Star reports.

That was the last day this public private partnership (P3) had to meet the Ministry's deadline, so the developer just made it.  

As reported earlier, the 256 LTC bed P3 project has been stalled for years while the city has been desperately short of long term care beds, causing the local hospital to fall into a bed crisis.  The new LTC facility was supposed to be completed in March of 2010.

 Health Minister Deb Matthews said Friday, "We will be watching these developments very closely, given the challenges this project has experienced. As I understand it, workers were on site today to begin preparations for demolition. We know it's in everyone's best interest, especially patients and future residents, to get this project done as quickly as possible. I know how important this project is to Windsor residents."

City treasurer Onorio Colucci said the city is owed about $1,020,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest, and that the developer has not paid taxes since purchasing the property in 2005.  “It has been going on for a long time,” Colucci said. “We have been trying to hold off, to not complicate the matter while the province tried to resolve the issue". 

Backers of P3s justify their extra costs by arguing that they transfer risk from the public sector to the private sector.

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