By Don Crosby for The Markdale Standard
The proposed new hospital for Markdale is included in the provincial government’s long term capital projects, said Bruce Grey Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch.
Earlier this week, Murdoch asked Health Minister David Caplan during question period when Markdale residents could expect to get their new hospital.
It’s more than a year since the community raised $13 million toward the cost of the estimated $50 million hospital to replace the current aging structure. In answer to Murdoch, Caplan is reported in Hansard to have said that the government is preparing a 10-year, $60-billion capital plan and “Markdale is a part of that mix, of those requests that are outstanding, and will be part of that considerations as that plan is put together,” Caplan said.
On May 4, 2006, then health minister George Smitherman announced that $3 million would be given to the hospital foundation for planning and design for the new hospital. On October 16, 2007, Grey Bruce Health Services submitted its functional plan and related materials to the ministry of health to support the proposal which was followed by supplementary information that was received toward the end of November.
“And the submission is currently under review, “Caplan told Murdoch.
Murdoch said during an interview on Thursday from his home near Bognor that he raised the question in the legislature to find out if Caplan was as committed to the project as the former health minister.
“He’s new and I wanted to put him on the record saying he’s still supporting it. We have Smitherman on record but we don’t have Caplan on record.”
Murdoch said he interprets Caplan’s response as a way of saying the government doesn’t have a lot of money to spend right now. With the downturn in the economy, Murdoch doesn’t expect construction for another two years but he is encouraged by Caplan’s answer.
“It’s only positive – he seemed enthusiastic about it. I think we’re ahead of lots of others but we won’t be first. I wouldn’t lose faith,” said Murdoch.