More Feedback on Hospital Expansion Levy

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.

Dear Editor:

I read with interest the letter by John Challinor in the February 3 Champion entitled, ‘Hospital levy should be rescinded; taxpayers engaged in discussion.’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.

(photo by Stuart Service, courtesy of Halton Compass)

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.”

He continued…

“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.

Halton MPP Says Provincial Government “evasive” when it comes to MDH

Flipping through the online version of the Halton Compass, I came across an article in the November 11th edition about Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh asking the Health Minister Deb Matthews and anyone else involved about answers to Milton’s questions … when are we getting the hospital?

He wasn’t too impressed with the ministers answers during a committee meeting.  The video below the article is of the exchange (courtesy of Ted Chudleighs website)

Chudleigh Says Liberals evasive on Milton Hospital

According to Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh, Minister of Health Deborah Matthews has more moves than a prize-fighting boxer when it comes to dealing with the expansion of Milton District Hospital.

“She bobbed and weaved so much in answering a question (about the hospital) today that she again provided no concrete answer to a legitimate question.” fumed Chudleigh on November 2.

Chudleigh asked why the Ministry has been spending millions on consultants but has been pleading poor when it comes to providing the funds necessary to expand Milton’s small hospital.

“Minister Matthews dodged, went off topic and dodged again.” said Chudleigh.  “Her refusal to answer a legitimate question in the Legislature should anger Miltonians and all Ontarioians.”

Chudleigh explained that Milton’s hospital was built with a population of 30,000 in mind.  The town now boasts more than 90.000 residents and the population keeps rising, and is expected to grow more than 180,000 in another decade.

According to Chudleigh, the people of Milton have waited three years for action to be taken on the expansion of Milton’s hospital.  The money frittered away on consultants, as detailed in the Ontario Auditor’s Report, would have easily paid for the complete and necessary expansion of the Milton facility, he said.

“It’s pretty clear,” Chudleigh said.  “that the health care of Miltonians is less important to a Liberal government than transferring taxpayer’s money into the hands of their friends.”

Ted has spoken out many times over the last few years at the provincial level about the needs of Milton’s healthcare needs.  Here is an example of Ted in action.

During the last municipal campaign, the hospital was obviously one of the big issues.  I had stated, along with pretty much everyone who’s name was on a ballot, that the new Milton Town Council would do what they could to raise this issue with the provincial government.  I used the words “get off their duff” (believe me I wanted to use stronger words than that) when it comes to the expansion of our hospital.  Give us an answer either way so we can start planning at the local level when it comes to funding ideas for our portion.  This inaction isn’t helping Miltonians at all.

We need to put some more pressure on the provincial government.  Sending copies of reports and statements by council to anyone with an “@ontario.ca” email address isnt cutting it.  The provincial government spends its days telling municipalities like Milton and other surrounding communities that we have to grow by “X” amount in the next 10 years…but provides no financial assistance to get it done.  Just do it we’re told.

As this new council gets ready to go, we need to put together a plan that will help raise awareness of this inside the provincial government.  Many thanks to Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh for raising the issue in the provincial legislature on a regular basis.  Mr Chudleighs been known for time to time for ruffling a few feathers in the provincial government and I’m sure this isn’t the last time he’ll speak out about it.

Something has to be done.  A long time ago.  Its starts with a loud voice…then it turns into more. 

New ward system in Milton

I had a chance to attend the open house of the Milton Toastmaster’s Club last night and it was quite a success.  Not only were there lots of current members there, but also a large number of interested people, like myself, to see what it was all about.

It was a great event and it was capped off with a presentation by Gary Mull about how to be not just an acceptable speaker, but an exceptional speaker.  As someone who is in the sales profession, I always keep my mind open to new ways to make presentations even if some of the ideas and skills I already have.  The more you hear about them the more chance of you using them are.  I like to call them the “a-ha” moments.

If you were ever curious on what the Milton Toastmasters are all about, I urge you to attend their meetings as a guest (every Tuesday night at the Royal Canadian Legion in Milton from 7:30pm to 9:30pm).  You will be surprised to know who members of the Toastmasters were in the past.

While waiting for Gary to speak I had a chance to introduce myself to a few people there and some recognized that I was running for council.  Inevitably the question comes up…which ward?  I proceed to tell them Ward 6 and I’m usually met with a “huh-like” stare.  For years Milton has been divided into 4 wards with two councillors in each ward representing them.

Recently the ward boundaries in Milton have been changed becoming effective for the 2010-2014 term of council.  This isn’t the first time I have run into people not knowing where ward 6 or any ward for that matter.  Outside the original news story about the changes, nothing has been said since about the changes by the Town of Milton.  I think the Town of Milton staff needs to do a better job in educating voters on the changes as much as possible.  Before you know it, election time will be here and people will be scrambling to figure out where they are and how to vote.

This past January a number of candidates, including yours truly, made the trek to Town Hall to file our nomination papers to become candidates in this election.  So far there are close to 20 people who will be asking Milton voters for their support over the coming months to represent them around the council table.

In the past couple of weeks, I have also had a chance to take advantage of the nice weather and knock on a few doors in our ward to introduce/reintroduce myself as the candidate for the area.  I was actually taken aback as to how many people remembered me from 2006 and even further still, how many people had my old magnet on their fridge almost 4 years later.  If you’re a parent of a kid in school, magnets are a must.  Stay tuned for that.

I also found most of the people I spoke with didn’t have a clue about the ward changes or which ward they lived in.

What ward do you live in?  Do you even know that the wards were changed?  Every one in town seems to know about the Milton Sports Centre expansion and the speedy design and construction of the arts & entertainment centre (that’s a discussion for another time) but hardly anyone knows what ward they live in or who their councillor is.

Part of the responsibility of the candidates for election is to educate the voters on where they live, which ward they will be voting in and (hopefully) garner their support and vote on Election Day.

I will be doing more entries as the days/weeks/months go on reminding people that things have changed for this election, thanks to the provincial government, which include a new date for the election.

October 25, 2010.  Mark that date in your calendar, as I have of course, as the date for the next municipal election.

I am running for the local council position for Ward 6 which is encompassed by the following boundaries.

NORTH:  DERRY ROAD

SOUTH:  BRITANNIA ROAD

EAST:  FOURTH LINE

WEST:  THOMPSON ROAD

If you click here, you will see the map of Ward 6.  If you live within this boundary, I am your candidate for council.  There are other positions you can vote for (regional council, public/separate school board trustee, mayor, regional chair) but more on that later.

If you want to see the ward boundaries for the entire Town of Milton you can visit www.milton.ca and find out where you live, and which ward you live in.

I’ll see you at the doors!

***UPDATE*** Laura Steiner from the Halton Compass has a Milton oriented blog as well.  She recently did a posting on the ward boundary changes thats a good read too.  Thanks Laura!

http://miltonviews.blogspot.com/2010/03/follow-changing-ward-boundaries.html

It happened again

I was getting ready to go to the last official meeting of the Milton 150th Anniversary committee around 630pm when I heard some weird sounds and then a smash.

Oh no, not again I thought and hoped for the best as I made my way to front porch. So much for hoping.

There was another accident at Yates Drive and March Crossing last night between 2 vehicles…one coming out of March Crossing turning east towards Bennett and the other traveling on Yates towards Bennett. One driver was taking her family to the Hawthorne Village PS Holiday Sing a Long when, according to her, the car came through the stop sign and hit her on the drivers side front wheel, causing some significant damage.

Road conditions were fine at that time with little no snow and the roads were a bit wet.

My neighbour Wally and I did what we could to help them out and thankfully no one was hurt in this case.

We have had several near misses and now 3 accidents in the last year at this intersection and nothing seems to have been done. You might remember an article in the Champion about this intersection and how the town was going to do some further studies.

Its only a matter of time before something worse happens or someone is injured or killed.

Changing rules takes time…I understand that but as I mentioned last night “you cant legislate common sense.”

Its been said so many times here on this blog and in letters to the editor that our residential streets are not raceways and yet still people fly down the street. Just after the cars were moved to the side of the road a car few up our street at way over the speed limit and drove through the stop sign at Bennett. Unfortunately we didnt get the plate number, but from our location I did see that same car go down Irving Terrace just after.

When youre driving towards an intersection, regardless of stop signs or not, you have to approach it with caution and look out for other cars. This was a totally avoidable accident and shouldnt have happened.

I know that the majority of people I have spoken with over the course of the last year after the election have told me they agree with my stand on doing something, whether it be stop signs, speed bumps or reducing speed limits. But something has to be done.

Maybe reducing speed limits wont accomplish much, but if they get nailed by the police doing 60km/h instead of 40km/h, the fine will be a lot more, and MAYBE they might think twice. Sad to say but I feel I’m losing faith that something will change.

If you agree that something has to be done at this or any other location in town, please do your part. Write a letter to the editor of the Milton Canadian Champion and the Halton Compass…write a letter to your councillors and the Town of Milton…take down the plate numbers of people who you feel are not driving safely and send them to the Halton Police department…go to the website www.haltonroadwatch.ca and find out what more we can do to stop this. The more people get away with this the more it will continue.

***NOTE*** The link to Halton Road Watch seems to be down and not working.