North Shore Manor has weathered the storm: operator

Diane Crocker
Published on March 6, 2014
North Shore Manor, a seniors home located in Irishtown-Summerside is seen in this April 2013 file photo.
File photo

It’s been almost a year since the North Shore Manor was declared bankrupt and the operation taken over by trustees PricewaterhouseCoopers.

It’s also been about a year since the trustees tasked Shaun Lane with running the Level 1 and 2 personal care home in Irishtown while it looked for a new owner. Lane operates three other personal care homes in the province and is president of the Personal Care Home Association.

Looking back over the past 11 months, Lane said he didn’t think he’d be running the home for this long.

“But in saying that the adjustment has gone very well,” said Lane. “It certainly weathered the storm that we went into.”

When Lane took over the home it had 42 residents and that number dropped to 38. For a while Western Health would not allow the home to take in additional residents, but since that restriction has been lifted the number of residents has grown to 48.

“And that’s helped the overall picture and the overall operation,” he said.

Lane said in terms of the day-to-day operation, the trustees have gone beyond the call of duty.

“They have really stressed that their main focus in this is making sure that the residents are properly cared for,” Lane said.

He said it’s never been about saving money, but instead about what’s best for the residents.

That goes hand-in-hand with Lane’s own philosophy: “You take care of your residents, everything else takes care of itself.”

And that philosophy has impacted how Lane has managed the business.

“Once we got out there we really felt that there was a bit of unrest with some of the residents and just uneasiness with all that was transpiring,” he said.

So Lane decided to put a full-time manager on site who lived in the home for a period of time.

Lane chose two people who he felt would be the best fit for the needs of the residents, his parents, Bernie and Cherry Lane.

“My mom and dad brought a real calmness,” he said. “They just brought a real good spirit to the home and everyone felt content and safe. That’s what everybody needed at the time.”

With the tender on the home’s sale now in its third offering, Lane is optimistic that a new owner will be found soon.

Greg Gosse, vice-president and trustee with PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the original estimate when the bankruptcy order was issued on April 21, 2013 was that it would take three to four months to secure a sale.

But that failed to transpire when the first tender closed in July.

“When we reviewed the bids the secured creditors thought that we could get a higher offer if we retendered,” said Gosse.

The secured creditors are owed approximately $2.8 million and that continues to accrue interest.

The tender was re-issued and this time a bid was accepted by the secured creditors. Because it was less than 75 per cent of the appraised value the accepted bid required court approval. That was granted and the sale was supposed to close on Nov. 17.

However, the purchaser asked for and was granted a 30-day extension.

“And when the 30 days expired there was no funds provided,” said Gosse.

The trustees didn’t think it was appropriate to retender in December.

“We also considered one of the issues here is that it appears that banks are looking for a record of activity. So income and expense information,” said Gosse. “We thought eight months of operation might be sufficient for them to agree to finance a purchaser.”

So the trustees waited and issued the latest tender in early February. That one closes March 14.

Gosse said there has been several site inspections and requests for tender documents. “So there is interest. Whether there’ll be bids or not we don’t know.”

Gosse noted that all bids received in the first two rounds were to operate the facility as a personal care home and came from within the province.

Meanwhile, Lane said the sale of the home will really come down to what somebody can afford to pay.

He did bid on the operation in the second round, but was unsuccessful.

“I tried to put in the best I could do,” he said. “And that’s not a reflection of what the building is worth, it’s a reflection of what I could do.”

With a little over week to deadline on the latest tender Lane’s not sure he if will bid again because there were others who offered more than he did the last go around.

“It’s in an excellent location. The community spirit within the home is tremendous, the atmosphere among the residents. We’ve got a great staff there. And I think it’s going to be a successful business venture for somebody.”