Grey County recently presented a cheque for $780,000 to the Centre Grey Health Services Foundation.
These funds have been set aside in a reserve since 2006 as the struggle to re-construct the Centre Grey Hospital in Markdale continued. The County also donated the land in 2005, valued at $220,000.
Representatives on June 10 asked Grey County to consider adding $150,000 to that $1 million commitment, which was described as about one percent for each of the 15 years since the original pledge was mad .
It was suggested that money could come as $30,000 per year over five years, or on whatever schedule the county chooses. Lower-tier municipalities served by the hospital are being asked to make the same 15 percent increase and Southgate Township has already said yes.
The county heard the request and passed it on to a health care funding committee to come back to the 2022 budget process.
There will also be a new public “Together in Care” community fundraising campaign.
The public campaign launched in 2002, and the county donated the land in 2005. Capital approval to build came in 2014, but it was March 1, 2021 when construction began.
“Among all the things happening this year this is sort of a bright star,” commented Gary Sims, president of GBHS.
Bird Construction is taking on the project. The total value is $69 million with a 90-10 province/local split. As well, 100 percent of all the equipment, furniture and fixtures must be locally funded.
The hospital will have 24/7 emergency rooms with eight exam and treatment rooms and an ambulatory care area that is the largest of the rural hospitals in the GBHS system. Procedure rooms, x-ray and ultrasound equipment, palliative care and a lab. There will be capacity in the building for adding services.
Site excavation, sanitary sewers and roadways are in place. It’s expected that foundations will be completed in August, and it’s hoped the facility will open to the public in 2023.
The hospital sees about 12,700 ER visits each year with about 300,000 lab procedures.
The hospital is part of the larger Grey Bruce Health Services system, with the regional hospital with oncology, dialysis, MRI and other centralized services being in Owen Sound.
Presenters made the point to county council that 84 percent of those who use the hospital are residents of Grey County.
From the original campaign and municipal commitments, including the $1 million from Grey County, $9.8 million has been raised.
Still, another $2.7 million is needed to meet the local commitment of $12.5 million.
Although pledge totals from the original fundraising campaign equalled about that amount, some people have passed away over the years, and others withdrew support as the project was stalled.
No capital that was collected was spent, presenters said. There are regular draw-downs now on the locally-raised funds for the construction and that will continue each quarter.
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald