New hospital cont'd:
“It depends what the bid comes in at. There are a couple of steps which will determine precisely what the cost is but it is a very significant investment and as a government we are committed to seeing it through,” he told reporters after the announcement.
Grey Bruce Health Services CEO Lance Thurston said the most recent proposal for the new Centre Grey Hospital, presented to the province in 2013, called for a $50 million facility.
Hoskins said it is unclear at this time when construction will begin, but he said he looks “forward to that first shovel in the ground and to share many more milestones” with the community as the project moves forward.
“I’m as anxious as everybody else is to get that shovel in the ground as quickly as possible,” he told reporters.
Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins announced Tuesday that the province will be moving ahead with a plan to build a new hospital in Markdale. (DENIS LANGLOIS/QMI AGENCY)
It has been 12 years since a fundraising campaign was launched to help GBHS build a new hospital in Markdale. The community raised $12 million within a couple years.
In 2005, Grey County donated a piece of land for the new facility at the south end of Markdale.
A year later, the Liberal government provided the hospital corporation with a $3 million planning and design grant to begin the process to replace the Centre Grey Hospital. Three years later, the province said the project was a priority, but not much happened over the next several years.
Meanwhile, GBHS officials and local politicians have continued to put the pressure on the province to give the project the green light.
Grey County and hospital corporation officials, along with Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Progressive Conservative MPP Bill Walker, met with Hoskins, who took over the health portfolio from Deb Matthews in June, at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference last month to again push for a commitment.
Following the meeting, Grey County Warden Brian Milne told The Sun Times that Hoskins promised the delegates that he would have an answer for them before the last leaves fall off the trees this autumn.
On Tuesday, with the crowns of many nearby trees still full of green leaves, Hoskins gave the community its wish.
“You stayed true to that promise,” Thurston said during his remarks to the crowd.
Walker, who also spoke at the announcement, thanked Hoskins for his work to get the project approved. He said Tuesday was a “great day for the people of Markdale.”
Walker said he and other local politicians have “pushed hard” for the project over the years.
Hoskins acknowledged that the delegation at AMO and the money raised by the community both helped to get the project the green light.
He said people in the community, including local politicians, GBHS staff and those behind the fundraising efforts, should be commended for getting the project to this point.
“It’s a beautiful example of how a community project should evolve and I’m glad that now — some would say finally — we’re at the stage where we’re able to make that formal commitment and move as quickly as we can to begin that build,” he told reporters.
Thurston said GBHS, which operates six hospital sites in Grey-Bruce, believes the new Markdale hospital “can be a model for rural health care” in Ontario.
Many other officials were on hand for Hoskins’ announcement, including South West LHIN CEO Michael Barrett and chairman Jeff Low, GBHS chair Joan Homer, Grey-Bruce medical officer of health Dr. Hazel Lynn, Grey County Warden Brian Milne, Grey Highlands Mayor Wayne Fitzgerald, Chatsworth Mayor Bob Pringle, West Grey Mayor Kevin Eccles and Blue Mountains Mayor Ellen Anderson.