Ministry gives new hospital the go-ahead
Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi got right to the point during an announcement at the Prince Edward Community Centre yesterday morning. The politician visited the County, along with his counterpart Todd Smith, bearing good news from provincial health minister Eric Hoskins: the project to build a new hospital in the County had been given the nod.
It’s step one in a long process. There are still millions of dollars to be raised, studies to be done, and the project is by no means a priority for the provincial government. But without ministry approval, the entire project would be dead in the water.
As Paul Huras, CEO of the southeast Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) said, “without this step being approved, you wouldn’t get a shovel in the ground.”
Mayor Robert Quaiff, and a large contingent of the County’s council, were on hand. The County had pledged to put aside $1 million over the next 10 years to help fund the project, part of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation’s fundraising effort for the project.
Foundation head Monica Alyea was on hand, and thanked the efforts of the organization and local politicians for their support, but mainly for their work promoting the project at Queen’s Park.
“You’re in Toronto, and you have to make a decision about where hospitals should be in the province,” Alyea said. She pointed out that on a map, the hospitals in Belleville, Trenton and Picton seem very close. “Of course, when you live here, you know that [Bancroft’s hospital] going to the bottom of [Prince Edward County] is about the same distance… so I would like to thank the people who convinced the people [in Toronto] that this space is going to be really important.”
The new hospital aims to provide better service, creating a campus that combines regular hospital service with a connection to the Family Health Team and specialists for a more holistic healthcare service.