Collingwood once again got a mention in the 2021 Ontario budget’s section on hospital infrastructure, but there’s still little clarity on the new hospital project schedule according to MPP Jim Wilson.
The Simcoe-Grey MPP raised the issue in the legislature today, asking Health Minister Christine Elliott for a timeline for the project.
“My constituents are asking me what it means since the hospital was also mentioned in the province’s 2019 budget,” he said.
In the Ontario 2021 budget the government has promised $30.2 billion over the next 10 years for hospital infrastructure.
“This includes supporting the redevelopment and rebuilds of older hospitals to new state-of-the-art facilities in Collingwood, Bowmanville, and Markdale,” states the budget document.
There is a new hospital being built in Markdale, with all the approvals in place and a contractor selected. The groundbreaking took place earlier this month, and was the culmination of 20 years of advocacy by the community to the provincial government.
In the list of hospital infrastructure projects, Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (CGMH) is listed with a project description that reads: “redevelopment and new construction to provide growth in demand for health services.”
Wilson did ask Elliott if Collingwood could expect a brand new hospital on lands donated for the project, or if there would be a redevelopment on the current hospital site.
Elliott’s reply was non-committal. She stated the government would work closely with the Collingwood hospital through the planning stages.
She noted a new hospital is a big investment and “you need to make sure you take the time to make sure it’s done right.
“This is good news,” said MPP Wilson in a news release. “We don’t have clarity yet on whether Collingwood will be redeveloped on its existing site, or newly built on the greenfield site that is being donated for that purpose. But we are moving in the right direction.”
The hospital’s application has been in stage one of a five-stage process since 2016 when the CGMH officials submitted their first request to the ministry.
Since then, the hospital has received comments on its application from the ministry and resubmitted it. In 2019 the province’s budget included support for the CGMH redevelopment application.
However, stage one approval from the ministry of health’s capital branch is still pending.
Wilson agreed redevelopment of a hospital takes time and urged his constituents to keep the pressure on the Ontario government by writing Premier Doug Ford (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Minister Elliott (email@example.com) to make sure the project remains on the drawing board.