By Lori Ledingham
For The Markdale Standard
I read a story in the Saturday Sun Times about the new Centre Grey Hospital that quoted Minister of Health George Smitherman as saying, “[Markdale area residents] will be the first to know when our government is in a position to make an announcement about rebuilding the hospital in Markdale.”
“I recognize that they like other communities are anxious to see a new hospital. If we are frank about it, we’ve got more than a couple of those across the province of Ontario.”
His words were a bit vague, and I wanted to make sure nothing has changed regarding our hospital so I immediately called the chair of the new hospital’s Steering Committee, Dr. Hamilton Hall.
“The minister’s comments caught us by surprise,” said Hall. “He was asked about the project out of context, when he was at Bruce Power. But if you read his comments carefully, nothing has changed in terms of our new hospital.”
“The ministry has never said anything other than that this project is moving forward as planned. With the government, anything short of a “no” means keeping moving ahead.”
Smitherman acknowledged that all of the local funds – totaling more than $13 million – required for the project have already been raised. Hall continued, “We met with members of the Ministry of Health two weeks ago and they are preparing their final comments for us on our Functional Plan. We expect to hear back from the ministry shortly. As far as we are concerned, absolutely nothing has changed with regard to our new hospital.”
I found this news quite reassuring since the Sun Times headline indicated that the hospital might be ‘on hold.’ “Our project is moving ahead,” asserted Hall. “It remains a question of when will we get our hospital, not if. George Smitherman did not put the hospital on hold.”
“Yes, there are other hospital projects across the province that the ministry is looking at but we need to remember that we are one of just a few communities who have raised 100 per cent of the local funds required by the government. That puts us in an excellent position going forward, and that is exactly where our hospital is going.”
I was glad to hear these comments from Hall as he is directly in touch with the ministry officials who are dealing with the plans for the new hospital. It seems like a long wait for the new hospital, but we have to be reassured and trust that the plans are coming together and the project is working its way through the necessary government departments. And yes, it does take a long time!
We have an excellent team at work on seeing the hospital’s plans through to completion and to date, we’ve only heard positive, constructive news and comments from the government and the departments that are scrutinizing the plans. That’s the real news about the new Centre Grey Hospital.