In what seems to be a recurring theme in the Milton Champions Letter to the Editor section, there is more feedback on councils decision to implement a 1% tax levy for the potential hospital expansion for MDH.
Most of the comments received by Miltonians on this blog, through email and in the Champion tends to focus on the fact that this decision was made with no public input and because we haven’t received the go ahead from the provincial government.
I read with interest the letter by John Challinor in the February 3 Champion entitled, ‘Hospital levy should be rescinded; taxpayers engaged in discussion.’
We agree that the tax levy should be re-opened for further discussion.
As life-long residents of Milton, we don’t oppose paying money toward our hospital expansion. However, we do question why the decision was made so quickly, when the Milton District Hospital expansion isn’t yet approved by the provincial government.
We urge councillors to re-open the tax levy issue for public discussion.
Jean and Joe Gregoris, Milton
If you haven’t already read Stuart Service’s article in the Halton Compass last week, (front page / second page) suggest you have a read. In the article, Stuart asks Dalton McGuinty about Milton’s decision to implement the levy and asks the all important question of will this help. The Premier’s answer is quite telling.
McGunity did not confirm whether or not a MDH levy would increase the towns chance at landing provincial approval for the hospital expansion.
“It’s obviously a sign of a strong committment on the part of the community, but I think that there is a lot of factors that we have to take into account when it comes to what we’re going to put something next.”
“At this point in time, we’re talking about a long term plan and none of those decisions have been made yet. One of the things we have to look at is where do we go going forward with respect to our capital plan.”
“We’re in a significant deficit , its a matter of modest growth, its a time of still too high unemployment.”
Doesn’t necessarily spark optimism now does it? In fact its the opposite. As the article mentioned, there were a number of councillors in support of the levy who used the argument that by implementing the tax levy will increase our chances in getting provincial approval. In fact key members of staff at MDH and Halton Healthcare Services echoed those same comments. Judging from the Premier’s comments it doesn’t spark any light of hope as we move closer to the time where the provincial government will be making those decisions.
Recently at the Mayor’s Breakfast we had a visit from Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli (one of the key decision makers in the approval process) came to town to visit the Milton Centre for the Arts and take some time to speak at the breakfast. In his 25 minute address to the mostly business crowd there wasn’t a mention of the need for hospital expansion in Milton. A few individuals I spoke with after who attended the meeting were equally as puzzled as to why the much needed expansion and quite possibly the number ONE issue in the town went unaddressed.
Only time will tell if its a success or a failure. We should find out in time (March / April 2011) if Milton receives the approval from the provincial government to move forward to the design stage of the much needed expansion of MDH. Since 2001/2002 there have been a number of studies completed by Halton Healthcare Services (at a significant cost) to assess the need for expansion. That’s a no brainer as many Miltonians are quite aware. The need is there…there is no doubt of that fact. The most recent report was completed back in 2008/2009 as to the need and viability of the expansion and nothing has been done since. In essence, the report is sitting on an in-box somewhere at the province of Ontario.
You want community support? We only have to turn back a couple of years when over 35,000 Miltonians, via the Friends of Milton Hospital organization collected signatures on postcards that were delivered to the Premiers office telling them of our needs.
We can do something in the meantime. We can keep the discussion going at all levels, on this blog, on discussion forums, in the coffee shops and restaurants in town and with our MPP Ted Chudleigh. It’s getting close to that time and if Milton isn’t approved for expansion there will be a lot of very upset residents.