“There have been two billboard unveilings to promote a hospital (in the southwest end of Niagara Falls) that doesn’t have a clear time-line or construction date. This project is too important to the region for it to be a publicity stunt.” – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates
A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates
Posted March 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
Queen’s Park—On Tuesday (March 19th), Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates released the following statement calling on the Ford government to commit to a clear and expedited timeline for a new Niagara Falls hospital:
“Niagara families have waited long enough for a new hospital in Niagara Falls. When the mental health and the maternity wards were taken out of the current Niagara Falls Hospital, families were told that they would be replaced in a the new, state-of-the-art hospital. That hasn’t happened — years later and families are still forced to drive across the region for these services.
There have been two billboard unveilings to promote a hospital that doesn’t have a clear time-line or construction date. This project is too important to the region for it to be a publicity stunt. Niagara families deserve to know, once and for all, when a new hospital is coming to Niagara.”
A Brief Afterword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
It has, indeed, been a while – six years this spring, at this point – since a site for another new hospital in Niagara, Ontario (following the opening of a brand new hospital complex in west St. Catharines) was announced in the southwest end of Niagara Falls near the QEW highway and Lyon’s Creek.
Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates, whose provincial riding includes Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake, has remained consistent in his efforts to press, first the now former Ontario Liberal government, and now Doug Ford’s Conservative government, to get on with the job of building this hospital at a cost that could approach a billion or more dollars.
Obviously, Gates, as an MPP for an opposition party, is doing his job in pressing for the promise to build this hospital to be kept, but here are a few questions we may all want to give more consideration to at this point –
First, is this really the best location for a new hospital that is intended to serve residents in Fort Erie, Welland, Port Colborne and Wainfleet as well as Niagara Falls? There has been at least a portion of the residents in Welland and Port Colborne, in particular, who have disagreed from the start with this Niagara Falls location as a good middle-ground site for a new hospital that was billed by the province and Niagara Health System to serve residents in the region’s south end.
Second, the site in Niagara Falls’ southwest end looks like it is out in the middle of a rural green area with very few buildings nearby.
But if a new hospital actually goes there, there will be a great deal of pressure to develop the lands around the site, including possibly the roughly 500 acres of Thundering Water Forest and wetlands a little east of the proposed site for the hospital.
There is already concern that the China-based investors in a proposed residential and commercial community in the Thundering Waters Forest area are citing plans for the new hospital as a selling point for their proposal.
For these reasons and possibly more, including the cost of building roads, water and sewers and other infrastructure out to the site, now may be as good a time as any for Niagara’s regional government and municipalities in the region’s southern tier to get together and discuss another location for a new hospital,
That is if there is even enough money at hand to build a new hospital at all.
What do you think?
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