Town of Collingwood and G&M Hospital Relationship is Good

Collingwood General & Marine Hospital and the Town of Collingwood Are Working Together and Moving Forward

A great deal has been written about the relationship between the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital and the Town of Collingwood.

Whether or not the two sides didn’t see eye-to-eye in the past or didn’t communicate well on matters pertaining to the hospital’s redevelopment needs, timeline and relationship with the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Health is old news.

Today, be assured that both the President and CEO of the G&M Hospital and CAO of the Town of Collingwood are on the same page.

Norah Holder, President and CEO, G&M Hospital and Fareed Amin, CAO, Town of Collingwood

The Collingwood General & Marine Hospital (CGMH) Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Norah Holder to the position of President and CEO effective August 1, 2017.

Collingwood Council announced the appointment of Fareed M. Amin as the new Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Collingwood on September 25, 2017. His first official day at work was Tuesday October 10, 2017.

These two highly qualified and well respected people are now in new roles in their careers and together are working to fix whatever was broken with the relationship between the Town and Hospital. The goal is to ensure a smooth path forward.

G&M Hospital President and CEO Norah Holder told that the overall situation has improved, not just in Collingwood but with all communities that have potential roles to play in the hospital redevelopment.

“Over the past six months there have been great strides and marked improvements in the collaboration between the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital and the Town of Collingwood, and continued collaboration with all of the municipalities the hospital services.”

“When I came in I had a frank discussion with the Hospital CEO and asked how the municipality could help.”
— Town of Collingwood CAO Fareed Amin

Town of Collingwood CAO Fareed Amin said one of the first things on his “to do list” upon becoming the Town’s new CAO was to get to work on the hospital file.

“When I came in I had a frank discussion with the Hospital CEO (Norah Holder) and asked how the municipality could help, work with you and collaborate to achieve the redevelopment of the existing site or new site. What is it that we can do to help facilitate the resolution of some of these issues?”

He said his thought process focused on understanding what the objective and vision was for both the Town and Hospital.

Upon understanding the importance of the hospital to the community, he examined what the relationship was with Collingwood’s sister municipalities in the region with an eye to beginning the process to help smooth out communications and relationships between all parties.

“I think it was all about understanding the vision, focusing on the results and finding ways to collaborate. This is what people in the community and the public expect of public and elected officials, to find ways to work together for the common good.”

Amin said meeting public expectations was always the most important ingredient in the mix to building professional teamwork.

“Of course there are issues around strategy and options and things like that but at the end of the day we have to find a way to work together to move this thing along because that’s what the public expects. Frankly the Province has a big role to play in all of this. From my experience the province is looking to us for some leadership and for some collaboration and for positions that are consistent and collaborative for them to facilitate whatever funding and other reviews that is required of them.”

“We are in the process of transitioning our Mayors’ Forum to a CGMH Municipal Forum, which will serve as an enhanced, two way communication platform.”
— G&M Hospital President and CEO Norah Holder

Holder says plans are being completed to expand a former program to better enable people to participate in the hospital discussion. The result again is to encourage a better flow of information and improved communication.

“We are in the process of transitioning our Mayors’ Forum to a CGMH Municipal Forum, which will serve as an enhanced, two way communication platform. Moving forward, a Municipal Forum will allow the five municipalities the hospital services, Collingwood, Clearview Township, Grey Highlands, The Blue Mountains and Wasaga Beach to continue in an advisory capacity to the hospital, with open and progressive two way conversation, and where appropriate, input into the hospital’s decision making process on matters which could impact the communities at large. The details are still being finalized, but we believe the group will meet a couple of times per year.”

The Town of Collingwood has contributed financially to help the hospital complete what is required from Phase One of the application process.

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 motion was approved unanimously. (Click here to read the previous story)

Amin says moving forward, the Town is prepared to assist in any way it can in preparation for the Stage Two portion of the General and Marine Hospital application for redevelopment with the Province.

“We are waiting on them to tell us what they need from us. We have set aside some money and many other municipalities in the county have also set aside some funding for it, so Norah is in the driver’s seat and we’re playing a supportive role. We’ve basically said you tell us what you need from us to help move this along.”

Amin said the Town has some money ready to contribute to help hire consultants or to respond to questions raised by the Ministry of Health or other related issues that may pop up.

“We’re ready, willing and able to do whatever we can to support the hospital in trying to achieve an outcome that is desirable for the community.”

In the meantime, Holder says meetings continue on a monthly basis to encourage ongoing conversation regarding issues.

“Our Board Chair and I have met monthly with the Town of Collingwood’s CAO and Mayor over the past six months to help aide with the transition and discussions surrounding the hospital. We plan to continue with our monthly meetings as they have been very successful.”

Amin couldn’t say it enough. The relationship between himself and Hospital CEO Norah Holder is good.

“We’re on each other’s speed dial.”

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