Update | January 13, 2017
Our group, Hospital4Collingwood, has been encouraged by the recent report requested by Collingwood Town Council from the consulting firm Deloitte.
A summary of that report follows, but we realize that we also need to make a strong statement of the way forward from this point.
Our position follows. We believe it is the best and most reasonable position for all those who are interested in a new hospital being built quickly in Collingwood.
1. The citizens group, Hospital4Collingwood, continues to support the current site at Hume Street for a new Collingwood hospital. The current site is large enough for a new hospital facility to be built alongside the existing hospital. When the new facility is up and running, the old hospital can be repurposed for administrative or educational use.
2. There are several good reasons for using the existing site for a new hospital:
* The site conforms to provincial planning policy, which calls for less sprawl and more intensification, and is already designated for hospital use. If the Poplar Sideroad site were to be used for a hospital, industrial land would have to be redesignated and rezoned (which would be contrary to provincial planning policy) and environmental regulations may be infringed upon. Placing a sensitive-use facility such as a hospital close to industry is contrary to provincial planning policy.
* The economy of Collingwood will benefit when the hospital remains in a central location close to other businesses and health-care facilities. The location provides easy access for staff, patients and families. It is the best solution for a patient-centred hospital.
3. It is the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care that will make the final decision about the site for the new hospital. The hospital board has submitted a plan naming Poplar Sideroad as the hospital’s preferred location, however, the Ministry is also bound, by law, to follow provincial planning policy. Just because the hospital board has recommended this site does not mean the Ministry will automatically support this choice.
4. The Ministry will probably select a site by the end of 2017. People still time have time to tell the Ministry which site they prefer.
5. Our group welcomes the report by Deloitte, commissioned for the Town of Collingwood and presented to Council on Dec. 12, 2016. The report challenges the hospital’s data in recommending Poplar Sideroad as the best site.
Our summary of the Deloitte report
The Deloitte report reviews in detail the Stage 1 conclusions that the board of the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital seems anxious to have approved. It looks at three aspects of the CGMH conclusions regarding the location of a new hospital on Poplar Sideroad
1) It reviews how CGMH scored the three sites for a new hospital (Wasaga Beach, Poplar Sideroad, the current site) where the current site had lowest score and Poplar Sideroad the highest. The report notes that the scoring does not include the following important factors:
* planning policies of the town or the province
* land availability
* traffic and service vehicle access
* environmental and protected wetland regulations
* relocation impact
2) It reviews the comparison by CGHM of the costs of the three sites (where Poplar had the lowest cost and the current site the highest) and notes that the following important factors were not included:
* site servicing and road improvements beyond the site itself
* site studies
* rezoning/official plan processes
* consultant fees
As well, the report noted there was no reasonable estimate of the costs to be borne locally, including,
*10 per cent of constructions costs
* 100 per cent of retail, parking, land (site acquisition), furniture, computers, equipment
3) It notes that certain important land use planning matters were not reviewed, including
* provincial policy statement which does not permit hospital in industrial zoned area (that is, the Poplar site)
* that the zoning of the current site permits a new hospital
The report recommends that more information on all these matters is required before proceeding further.
We believe that if these matters were included in a comparison of the sites, the existing site would be the preferred site for a new hospital.
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