The operator of a Perth County long-term care home slated for closure wants to move dozens of beds from that facility to London.

Hillside Manor is expected to shut down in the next few years. Ninety people live at the Sebringville-area facility, which is owned by Revera Inc.

Revera plans to build a new long-term care home in London, and wants to move between 38 and 50 of the beds from Hillside Manor to that facility.

Relatives of people currently living at Hillside Manor say they’re not happy with that idea – particularly because they chose Hillside in large part because of its location.

“I’m hoping they can find some way to keep it here,” Andrea Cochrane, whose mother lives at Hillside, said Monday.

“These are our loved ones, and we want to keep them close.”

Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece has raised the issue at Queen’s Park and launched a petition asking the province to ensure that Hillside’s 90 beds stay in his riding.

“Nobody’s given us any answers on where the extra beds are going to go, and we’re very concerned about that,” he said in an interview.

Pettapiece says he’s not only concerned about the immediate impact of a loss of long-term care beds, but also what it could mean 10 years down the road as Ontario’s population ages.

He likens it to closing schools, which has also been a major issue in rural parts of the province in recent years.

“They’re pulling things out of rural Ontario and moving them into the cities,” he said.

“Once they leave a community … it’s very difficult to get them to come back again.”

The rules around long-term care beds allow Revera to move the 90 beds from Hillside Manor anywhere within the boundaries of the South-West Local Health Integration Network – an area which stretches from the Bruce Peninsula in the north to Lake Erie in the south, encompassing communities including Owen Sound, Goderich, Woodstock and St. Thomas.

For its part, Revera says it has yet to finalize its plans for any Hillside Manor beds that are not moved to London, and the entire plan still needs approval from the province.

“Nothing is changing for the foreseeable future,” the company said in a statement.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is hearing concerns about the issue Tuesday at a meeting in Mitchell. A second meeting is expected to take place at a later date.

With reporting by Krista Simpson