Hospital president says minister’s comments about not funding Markdale build this year in line with provincial budget
The Sun Times
By Don Crosby
Sun Times Correspondent
The president and chief executive officer of Grey Bruce Health Services is disappointed but not surprised by word the province isn’t planning to approve construction of a new hospital in Markdale this year.
Provincial Health Minister George Smitherman took some Markdale residents by surprise when, while visiting Bruce Power late last month, he announced that he didn’t know for sure when he could give approval for the proposed new hospital and he couldn’t give a time frame when he could make such an announcement.
“It would be very nice if we could get at announcement that we were moving to implementation. But given the way the budget dame down this year we weren’t surprised when the minister said he’s not in a position to make an announcement that it’s moving to implementation,” Campbell said.
Smitherman added the province wouldn’t have provided $3 million for planning the hospital if it wasn’t serious about the project.
Campbell said money for the proposed $50 million hospital was not included in the spending estimates of the government’s budget released earlier this year.
“In fact there was a real focus in the provincial budget on infrastructure other than hospitals. So the minister’s comments didn’t take us by surprise, but clearly it took some of the community by surprise,” said Campbell.
“I would emphasize that we continue to work on the planning, we continue to work with the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) who do understand that this is an important project to move ahead.
“We continue to work with the elected officials in the area who support us in moving the project forward.”
Campbell said the announcement by the minister will come when the government is ready to allocate the funding.
“I would assume at this pint that their approval cycle for this year had gone by, which we’re very disappointed in and very concerned about, but at the same time it doesn’t change the fact that we continue with the planning process,” Campbell said.
She also noted there haven’t been any requests by the ministry officials to reduce the size of the proposed hospital.
“I know that there has been some discussion across the province about different projects being asked to change the size of the scope of their project. We may be asked to do that and we’ll certainly be looking at that in the context of what is going on in the health system in general. But at this point we haven’t been asked to do anything like that,” Campbell said