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New Oakville Hospital: The $200,000,000 Question

February 4, 2010

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Photo Source: Oakville Today

Through the months of December 2009 and January 2010, North Oakville Today published a survey which asked residents, ‘Do you support the Town giving Halton Healthcare $200,000,000 for the new Oakville Hospital?’

While the majority of responses were no, none of the responses indicated a new hospital should not be built. A simple analysis of this survey shows that the vast majority of Oakville residents want the new hospital. Most responses indicated concerns over plans, policy, tax increases and the politics behind the local share contribution. We urge readers to consider all opinions – those submitted by the community as well as those from our various leaders within this publication.

Here’s a brief overview of Oakville’s hospital saga:

In 1948, Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital opened with 50 beds on nine acres of land to serve Oakville’s then population of less than 20,000 residents. Since then, multiple expansions and upgrades were made to the existing hospital as the population of the Town of Oakville grew.

Finally, in 2003, the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) released a report establishing the need for a new hospital in Oakville.

Discussions over funding, design and priorities were held in the following years, and in 2007, Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn announced his government’s decision to transfer a 50-acre plot of land at Third Line and Dundas Streets to Halton Healthcare Services (HHS) for the new hospital.

Not long after, HHS initiated a series of focus groups based on three tiers to establish priorities: community, staff and patient.  The three common requests revolved around more single-bed patient rooms, calming environment throughout the hospital and more support and space for visiting families.

Due to a decision at the provincial level, the original plans for development and construction of the new hospital were delayed.  The availability of qualified construction, labour and technical personnel was called into question and the original opening date of 2013 was bumped back by one year.

Later, this decision was reversed and the plans to conceptualize, finance and build the hospital were sped up.  It was in late 2009, however, after HHS had released its initial conceptualizations and designs, that financing became a hot topic.

With the province footing the bill for approximately 70 per cent of the overall costs, it left 30 per cent for what is known as the Locale Contribution to fill.  That includes 100 per cent of non-eligible construction costs (retail space, parking and other revenue-generating spaces), 10 per cent of eligible construction, 10 per cent of building equipment and life-cycle maintenance (boilers, chillers, HVAC systems and 30-year maintenance of the facility) and 100 per cent of clinical equipment.

Halton Healthcare has already dedicated $270,000,000 to the project and the Hospital Foundation has pledged $60,000,000.  At an Council Meeting of the Whole, HHS presented their plans and asked for the donation of $200,000,000 from the Town, to be paid over 30 years. A report prepared by Town staff suggested that, based on interest rates, current debt policy and affordability, the most the Town could offer was $140,000,000. It was also suggested that HHS turn over the old OTMH lands to the Town as part of this deal.

However, Council voted to hold extensive public consultations prior to making a final decision, which will affect taxpayers for the next 30 years.  The results of this are expected in March of this year.

What are your thoughts about the proposed new hospital for Oakville?

How do you answer the $200,000,000 question?

Ryan Chelak is a real estate broker in Oakville & Mississauga and longtime Oakville resident. Subscribe to my blog to keep up to date on local news, information, events and of course everything you want to know about Oakville real estate.

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