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Minister says transfer of planning grant "imminent" for Stevenson Memorial Hospital


A cheque for half a million dollars that will be used to cover the planning costs of Stevenson Memorial Hospital’s redevelopment should be arriving in the bank account any day now, according to Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson.

He said the arrival of the $500,000 planning grant that was first promised to the hospital by the Liberal government in February is “imminent.”

The Liberals also promised the same grant for Collingwood General & Marine Hospital, but it hasn't been delivered.

Wilson expects the funding will be transferred to the Collingwood hospital before the end of the year.

He said Stevenson Memorial’s redevelopment “has a green light at the political level” but is getting held up by the bureaucratic process.

He is on the same page with hospital president and CEO Dr. Jody Levac about how the redevelopment should unfold.

“Our team has welcomed the efforts of our newly elected government to keep the redevelopment of Stevenson Memorial hospital a priority," Levac said in a statement. "The hospital is discussing the terms and scope of this contract with the Ministry to ensure the contract recognizes the costs incurred by the Hospital to date in planning the project.  Once these terms and conditions have been clarified, we look forward to seeing the funds released.”

Earlier this summer, Levac voiced his frustrations about ministry officials wanting him to redo the Stage 1 submission.

Wilson said this would have required spending $300,000 in new studies.

Wilson said both he and Levac don’t want the redevelopment to take place in two stages, where the new building would be constructed before the existing facility is updated.

“We are going to use facts here, not emotion, to prove to them that it’s cheaper to do the whole thing at once,” he said. “So we’re going to keep pressing. I said I’m not leaving office until it's done, and I mean that.”

Wilson has previously said it would require a total of $12 million to complete the five-stage planning process.

The redevelopment plan seeks to replace the 54-year-old hospital with a state-of-the-art 161,000-square-foot facility.

The new hospital has been estimated to cost $136.2 million, and about $30 million of that amount will have to be raised locally to purchase fixtures, furniture and equipment.

So far, about half has been identified and/or raised, including $10 million from Simcoe County, $4 million from Honda and $1 million from the Nottawasaga Foundation.

~ Written by Brad Pritchard