From left: Ralph Ganter, Monte McNaughton, Liz Sandals, Lori Marshall, Rick Nicholls and Greg Aarssen (Tami Eagen)

The Sydenham Campus in Wallaceburg is getting a $7.3-million boost from the province.

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) officials say they have received approval for the Replacement Power Plant Project from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to replace essential infrastructure at the Wallaceburg site with a total project cost estimated at $8 million dollars.

Hospital officials say the province’s grant of up to $7.3 million funding will go towards the construction of a new power plant to replace aging equipment with new boilers, generators and electrical distribution equipment.

The balance of the project cost will be funded through hospital funds allocated for investment in this project.

“CKHA is one team, two sites,” stated Greg Aarssen, Board Chair for CKHA, in a press release.

“Today’s announcement reiterates the new mission for the organization and the importance of the Wallaceburg site to serve rural Kent. We are pleased with the funding announcement and look forward to the future of this site and the patients we will serve.”

Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure, Former Minister of Education, Former President of Treasury Board and Former Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Health made the announcement on Saturday morning in Wallaceburg.

“I am pleased that this funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will provide for the construction of a new power plant with modern equipment, and facilitate the delivery of the healthcare services which the community needs at the Wallaceburg hospital site,” Sandals stated.

Hospital officials say with a renewed focus on the Wallaceburg site, the new building and equipment will enable this site to meet the specific needs of the community for years to come.

The expansion is part of the province’s plan to update hospital infrastructure in Chatham-Kent and follows the Ministry’s 2017 approval for $1.5 million under the Hospital Energy Efficiency Program (HEEP) to replace old heating and cooling distribution equipment at the Wallaceburg site.

“Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s Wallaceburg site plays in important role in healthcare for many of the community members we serve,” stated Lori Marshall, President & CEO, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

“The funding to support the building of a new power plant is the first step in renewing the facilities at the Wallaceburg site and reaffirms our commitment to program and service delivery in the community.”

Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, said hospitals need modern infrastructure to deliver the care their communities need.

“With this investment, we are ensuring that the people of Chatham-Kent will continue to access high quality services today and in the future,” Jaczek said in a press release.

With this project approval now received, the hospital will engage the architectural design team and aim to tender the project later in 2018.

Construction completion should occur in 2019 with minimal disruption to patient services.

Watch for more on this story next week.