GROW MILTON HOSPITAL!
I read with interest an article in the Champion last week called “Councillors disappointed with infrastructure plan” Click on the link to read it in full.
Disappointed isn’t the word. In addition to Regional Councillor Colin Best’s comments, I also spoke about the lack of detail in this report and despite the Town’s efforts in keeping the province “in the loop” we have been kept in the dark. And its not just Milton municipal councillors who are disappointed with the plan, or lack thereof. Its the hundreds of mayors, regional & local councillors who are scratching their heads at the vagueness of the capital infrastructure plan recently released by the Provincial government.
The report called “Building Together” was supposed to outline a list of municipalities and their important infrastructure projects that would be green lighted by the province, such as expansion of Milton District Hospital, growing our university / college campuses (Milton Education Village) and other much needed road developments.
Instead we got a “we promise” document. We promise that the provincial government will help fund these projects. We promise.
When politicians utter the words “we promise” taxpayers roll their eyes. Been there…done that. Tell us something new.
It’s with that in mind I chuckled when I read the comments from Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli when he said the following:
“People know what our commitment is,” he (Chiarelli) said. “Read my lips, we mean business.”
Personally speaking, I really don’t know what to do with that comment. I remember a certain US President who made the same “read my lips” promise and it came back to bite him in the old hindquarters. He claims people know what the governments commitment is. How can the people of Milton know what the provinces commitments are if they are not outlined.
And really when it comes down to it, Bob is a former Mayor of Ottawa and if anyone could understand what the cities and towns in Ontario are going through right now its him.
When the Town of Milton is asked to put forward a 10 year capital projection at budget time, we do. The budget has a list of projects that are slated to begin, the time they are ready to go, and the approximate financial commitments needed to complete that project. The same can be said for the Region of Halton and in fact, every municipality does this. Why cant the Province of Ontario do the same?
The Premier of Ontario recently prorouged Queens Park for the summer and with a provincial election slated for October 6th, its highly unlikely they will be back to work at Queens Park any time soon. Therefore the taxpayers of Milton must wait on pins and needles to see if this government will announce any projects before that time. In fact its more likely we will hear something, if anything AFTER the election in October.
This will now put the timeline for the expansion of Milton District Hospital even further behind.
“Read my lips, we mean business.”
A little history lesson for you Bob just in case you missed it the first time around. The minister of health Deb Matthews can also listen in as well as the Premier.
Between the Friends of Milton campaign a few years ago where over 35,000 signatures were secured from Milton residents and delivered to the health ministers office to the most recent Grow Milton Hospital campaign, where over 6,000 signatures were collected in a matter of weeks, Milton residents have been trying to let you know that we mean business. Our council even installed a hospital expansion levy on our taxpayers (you know my feelings on THAT issue) in the hopes it would let the provincial government know we meant business too. We as a town have done everything possible to raise the awareness of this problem that can affect the delivery of health care services to the people of Milton. Instead we get a “read my lips” response.
The population of Milton is approaching 100,000 people and the last expansion at MDH took place back in 1987 when the population was 30,000. Even then the current facilities were too small for that number and it wont be able to sustain itself much longer. The infrastrucutre within the hospital is falling apart. The hosptial recently got a new piece of equipment to sterilize medical instruments and it couldnt work because the electical system couldnt handle it and the installation was delayed by a couple of weeks.
Alan Halls from Halton Healthcare Services and John Oliver have made plea after plea to the province to green light the expansion of the hospital because the system will not be able to sustain itself at the current rate of growth. The Milton Town Council has repeatedly sent you reports on the status of our growth, mandated by the provincial government, and the possible effects on our schools, roads and the hospital.
Expert after expert has told the LHIN and the Ministry of Health that the expansion of Milton Hospital is needed NOW. The people of the town of Milton have told you endlessly that the expansion of Milton Hospital is needed NOW. There are hundreds of signs on the lawns of the people of Milton that say “The Time is NOW! Grow Milton Hospital!” As a local councillor in Milton I get stopped in the street, I receive emails and get phone calls from residents asking when will it happen…when will it start?
Read OUR lips Bob! We mean business as well.
Milton isn’t by far in the worst situation when it comes to hospitals and the delivery of health care services to their residents. We know that! What the taxpayers have seen over the last 8 years is $1 Billion wasted on EHealth (imagine what that money could have done to expand hospital facilities) and other programs, while we sit back and watch our hospital crumble before our eyes. The doctors and nurses in Milton Hospital are doing the best they can given the circumstances. Something has to give soon. We only hope that a life isn’t put into danger before something happens with the expansion.
The Town of Milton has committed to providing the local share thats needed for the hospital expansion. We dont have an amount yet and that can happen only if the project gets green-lighted by the province and we can get started in the planning. When that happens, we will consult with Miltonians on the best direction to raise that local share. We’re ready to go! Just give us the green light!
Read our lips Bob! Grow Milton Hospital!