$4.5-million approved for Wallaceburg hospital build

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent has thrown their support behind the redevelopment project for the new Wallaceburg hospital.

During Council’s budget deliberations on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, a motion by Wallaceburg Councillor Aaron Hall was unanimously approved, which will earmark $4.5-million toward the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s ‘Our Hospital Our Future: Wallaceburg Site Redevelopment’ project.

“What an amazing thing to have, almost a brand new hospital,” said Coucillor Carmen McGregor, who seconded the motion.

“Just to think what they brings our community of Chatham-Kent, all of us. In the future, when anybody is looking to locate and start industry, whether it be someone looking to settle in our community, one of the things they look for is a hospital. This build that goes on will continue to provide a 24/7 emergency centre, with many other services, for a long time to come in our future.”

Hall said the project is the “most important and impactful initiative” the community of Wallaceburg will see in the foreseeable future.

“As elected leaders in our community, and as a Municipality, we have the ability to set the tone with this fundraising effort and demonstrate this leadership to the residents, businesses and organizations that will donating funds to this essential project in the coming months,” Hall said.

“The presenters on our opening night illustrated the key points and the need for this project, which is not just going to benefit Wallaceburg. It’s going to take pressure off of the Chatham site here in the city, it is certainly the go-to medical facility for many of our rural and agricultural-based residents in North Kent and is a critical facility for our neighbours and friends on Walpole Island First Nation.”

Hall’s motion directed that a $900,000 annual payment be made each year from 2023 to 2027.

The funds will come from the strategic development reserve, which is funding set aside for future community needs.

Mayor Darrin Canniff commended Gord Quinton and Chatham-Kent’s financial team for creating this reserve years ago.

“Back in 2016 when we implemented this, this is exactly what we put it in for,” the Mayor said.

“We can sit here today and ask ‘how do we fund such a critical investment in our community?’ Well, it’s already funded because the team back then had the foresight to see these requirements.”

Mayor Canniff added: “This is a wonderful process to walk through. As C-K expands, healthcare is certainly a critical piece to that. So many people coming here to stay are looking at the healthcare offered. This is a wonderful opportunity to invest in the Wallaceburg hospital and to have this fund to do that, I’m thrilled.”

CKHA Photo

A team from the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance presented to Council during their opening night of budget last month.

Hospital officials said the total project cost is projected at $41-million, with the local share being $8.9-million.

The local share element consists of 10% of the overall constructions costs and 100% of the furniture, fixtures and equipment required for the redevelopment.

Hospital officials said their master plan envisions the redevelopment of the entire site, as a result of aging and inadequate infrastructure.

The project will be broken up into several phases of construction, with demolition and interior renovations ongoing between the phases, hospital officials said.

Phase one of the plan has been completed, which consisted of the build of the replacement power plant, and phase two is underway.

Phase two will include:

– 24/7 emergency department

– Six medicine beds, including a palliative bed

– Diagnostic imaging, x-ray and ultrasound

– Laboratory

Hospital officials say the goal of the project completion is the end of 2026, pending the start of construction by the end of 2024.

For more information and to follow along with the progress of the Wallaceburg site redevelopment project, visit www.OurHospitalOurFuture.com.

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