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Health Minister tells Wilson SMH Stage 1 approval is imminent

Posted November 5, 2019

Ontario's Health Minister told Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson during Question Period yesterday, Stevenson Memorial Hospital's approval to proceed to Stage 2 of the five stage capital planning process, could be announced this week.

Mr. Wilson asked Christine Elliott for a status update on the redevelopment plans for SMH and Collingwood General and Marine Hospital, as "nothing much appears to have happened."

"The hospitals feel that they're no further ahead than they were during the 15 years under the Liberals," according to the question period transcript provided by Mr. Wilson. "The hospitals were told by health ministry bureaucrats to keep planning for their redevelopments but at their own expense and with no approvals in sight. In fact, these same bureaucrats tell the hospitals that they are waiting for political direction. So, Minister, will you please give that political direction today so that we can move forward with these redevelopments?"

Ms Elliott said the Ministry was working "closely" with SMH on moving it forward.

"I know these hospitals are very important to you and to the people in your communities, and that they are anxious to see things move forward," she said. "I know for all of us, some of these projects seem to take a lot longer to get started than any of us would want, but that is the approval process that is in place within the ministry. That said, we do hope to be able to provide approvals to move forward very shortly in the coming days. I would like to give you a particular date, but I can say that that is coming very soon."

It's a critical step in the planning approval process because it signals the Ministry has accepted the need and supports the conclusions of the high level submission.

Last month, the SMH Foundation launched its largest ever fundraising campaign with a total goal of $43 million, which is the local share of the estimated $167 million project cost.

Mr. Wilson also invited Ms Elliott again to tour both hospitals as "it would be great for morale and great to help move the redevelopments forward. Will you please tour the hospitals?"

"Yes, I would be very happy to," she said. "I hope to be able to tour both hospitals with you very soon."

All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri