Council unanimous in support of awarding financial support of $150,000 in operating funds to the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital
Norah Holder – President and CEO – Collingwood General & Marine Hospital (photo from G&M web site)
At the regular meeting of Collingwood council on Monday January 15th, Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson tabled a notice of motion for council to authorize pre-approval in an amount up to 150,000 dollars in the 2018 budget to be used at the discretion of the CAO for assisting the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital with expenses incurred in the Stage One “A” and “B” applications and responses required for the hospital redevelopment.
The matter was on the table for discussion at the regular meeting of Collingwood Council on Monday January 29th and received unanimous council approval.
The Deputy Mayor shared comments received in an email sent by Norah Holder Collingwood General & Marine Hospital CEO. Holder had sent the email in November, 2017, to the Mayors and Deputy Mayors of the communities that are served by the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital:
”Following our recent community information sessions, I am sharing with you some key messages that you are welcome to share with your Councils, if they are looking for points to speak to in relation to where the hospital is currently with redevelopment.
• The hospital’s goal is to see the Stage 1 A/B submission approved and to receive a planning grant to proceed to Stage 2 of the five stage process.
• Stage 1 A/B is primarily focused upon Programs and Services to be provided in the future.
• A required component of Stage 1 A/B was to identify site options; including identifying a potential preferred option in the submission.
• It’s important to note that the hospital cannot move to Stage Two of the process, without Stage One approval, regardless of a planning grant.
• The hospital continues to work on improved collaborative efforts with all municipalities, as we all work towards the same common goal – a redeveloped acute care hospital for the South Georgian Bay Region.
• The redevelopment process is a marathon, not a sprint and CGMH is currently working on Stage 1 of a 5 stage process, which will likely take at least 10 years until we see a redeveloped facility.
• It is also important to note that our North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network remains very supportive of and engaged in the process, and have a vested interest in the success of this hospital redevelopment.”
Saunderson addressed concerns that the Town of Collingwood and Hospital may not be perceived as working together in planning for and working through the multi-stage provincial hospital redevelopment application process.
“There was a time when some questioned whether the Town and the Hospital were aligned in the pursuit of this much needed hospital redevelopment for our community. I think for those who are watching, for those who are listening, and for those who are concerned about this important issue, those questions have been answered.”
Saunderson says Collingwood Town Council is in complete alignment with the Hospital and is absolutely committed to working collaboratively and cooperatively with the Hospital in any way to assist in progressing to stage 2 of the redevelopment process.
He went one step further, clarifying his personal support for the hospital redevelopment process.
“To be clear, I am in total support of the hospital and all efforts to secure provincial approval to build a new hospital in Collingwood at any location that is deemed to be practical, sustainable and in the best interests of all parties. I fully support all parties involved in working together, collaboratively and cooperatively, to move this process forward as a unified team.”
“Currently, Stage 1 approval is the critical focus, it is a necessary pre-condition to progressing to stage 2, it will define the programs and services the redeveloped hospital will provide which will inform key decisions moving forward including siting.”
Saunderson said the pre-approval of $150,000 will be available as an operating amount for the Hospital to access at their discretion, adding the Hospital had been involved in the discussion from the beginning of the process. He said the funds are available for the Hospital to retain any consultants or experts, or to obtain any necessary reports or advice that may arise in discussions with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. He said the $150,000 figure was arrived at following discussions between the Town’s new Chief Administrative Officer, Fareed Amin, and the Hospital.
Mayor Sandra Cooper said that she was initially uncomfortable with the motion.
“I had a little discomfort but I’m good with the motion now, and I did speak to the CAO about it regarding the one hundred and fifty thousand dollar cheque, but of course there is a reporting mechanism back to council so I am very comfortable with that.”
Councillor Tim Fryer stated that he was in support of the initiative and in working collaboratively with the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital in their efforts.
“You have cleared up for me the “one-fifty level,” I had wondered about that being sufficient or non-sufficient. This is all about timeliness and getting getting things done, and done as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Fryer said having the CAO interact directly with the Hospital made him feel comfortable in the knowledge that council was assisting in every way possible to help them move as quickly as they can.
“We have stepping stones with regards to funding the new hospital situation. We’ll have many discussions about that for sure, but I’m very much in support of the motion, and again, I think it’s great that the CAO is directly involved from a planning standpoint.”
Councillor Bob Madigan put out a challenge to Collingwood’s neighbours.
“This is a great opportunity for our community neighbours maybe to put forth something very similar to this.”
Councillor Kathy Jeffery represented Council and attended a Hospital Board meeting last week.
“I did discuss the notice of motion coming up at tonight’s meeting and they expressed their appreciation for our consideration of this so they are well aware of this coming forward.”
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