Categorized | Community

Brampton’s Second New Hospital

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

By Linda Jeffrey, MPP Brampton-Springdale

Since being elected provincially in 2003, improving access to healthcare has been a top priority for me as your representative at Queen’s Park. Early on I fought for and delivered a new hospital at Brampton Civic. I’m extremely proud of our government’s health care investments in Brampton and the great work that the William Osler Health System does to improve care for patients in our community. Since 2003 our investments have allowed Osler to open nearly 200 new hospital beds and 9 out of 10 patients have seen significantly reduced wait times in both the Emergency Room and for many surgical procedures such as hip replacement and cataract surgery.

At the same time I have continued to work towards the redevelopment of Peel Memorial Hospital, which is why I welcome Wednesday’s Town Hall to discuss the City’s fulfillment of their commitment to the redevelopment of this hospital being hosted by Mayor Fennell. While I am not able to attend I know that representatives from both Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health’s Capital Branch will be present in order to answer any technical questions that the public may have about the Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness project.

Upon completion, this site will provide a number of important services to the residents of Brampton including urgent care, day surgeries, diagnostic services and preventative care for chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma. This past November, our government provided an additional $8.6 million in planning and design funding for this project, bringing the funding total to $17 million to date and more to come. Our government remains fully committed to this very important project which is currently in the Request for Qualifications phase, and we will continue to work towards the planned for start of construction this summer.

In March 2010, the City of Brampton publically committed $60 million to the Local Share portion of the full $433 Million Peel Memorial Hospital project and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with William Osler Health System in September of 2012. So it’s a little puzzling why Council – at this late stage professes to have questions about their share of the funding.

The fact of the matter is that Brampton needs two hospitals and these days the building of a new hospital requires a partnership between the local community and the Province. It’s unfortunate that residents may once again be drawn into a pointless debate about why Brampton is required to provide a percentage of the funding. Municipal contributions to hospitals are the norm these days – not the exception. Throughout our province, funding for hospitals requires that the province incur 90% of construction and 100% of planning and design. The local community, along with furnishings and equipment, funds the remaining 10%.

According to the newspapers our municipal elected officials would have the Brampton community believe that there are only two avenues available to fund the community share – essentially a choice between a special tax levy or borrowing the money. But there is a third option.

Back in 2002 Brampton City Council sold Brampton Hydro for $262 million dollars to Hydro One. Council wisely created a number of reserves to preserve these dollars, one of which was a Community Investment Fund designed to act as a permanent endowment to our community. The purpose of this particular reserve was that it could be borrowed against for major capital projects that benefited Brampton. Isn’t a new hospital a major capital project that benefits Brampton residents? Is there a reason the community’s share can’t come from the Community Investment Fund?

 In addition, over the last decade a rather significant financial shift has occurred that Council rarely talks about but which has provided our community with more money to invest in local priorities like transit, affordable housing and infrastructure. Since 2007 the Province has uploaded millions of dollars to Peel Region. In 2012 the Province uploaded $65,535,900 and in 2013 that amount will grow to $75,666,900. Regional Council and ultimately Brampton City Council now have considerably more tax room in which to manoeuvre and a unique and important role to play in hospital and health care planning in our Region.

For more than eighty years Peel Memorial served the health care needs of our Brampton community and now we are on the verge of seeing exciting plans for an integrated health and wellness system at Peel Memorial come to fruition. The City of Brampton will have the technical assistance it needs at this town hall to help it come to a decision on our behalf regarding how we fund our share of the hospital. It’s vital that residents of this community see a relationship between their dreams and the ability of all levels of government to work together to deliver those dreams. A crucial key to city building and the success of this project is to bring together with resolve and courage, the community, the health care leaders and the politicians to deliver what will be a leading edge centre in health service delivery.

 Linda Jeffrey is Liberal MPP from Brampton-Springdale.

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