Blockheads severely chastised over CG&MH motion

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Shame on youThe following emails were forwarded to me following my recent post on the debacle council made over the hospital redevelopment. That action has certainly upset many in the community and several people have spoken to me to express their disgust at the motion approved last week.

More to the point, some residents have severely chastised those behind this scurrilous action. And you, dear reader, should know what is being said to and about our council. I take no credit for them: these are the words of others.

The first email was sent to Deputy Mayor Saunderson and Councillor Kathy Jeffrey, by Bud Christensen. It has been widely circulated and copied to many people in the community:

Brian and Kathy, the depth of my disappointment with you is complete. I once considered you friends, capable and honest. Neither of you will receive any support from me in the future. Fortunately I am fairly well respected in Collingwood and will do my utmost to ensure that you are not re-elected.

How could you contest the results of the CGMH Redevelopment Report.

Brian I thought that after our meeting with Guy that you now understood why it is important to wholly support the Hospital’s Selection for the the Poplar Side Road Site.

Kathy you have been on the wrong side of so many decisions for the town. eg. You wanted !st Street to be 3 lanes and thank goodness you did not win the day… the 4 lanes and one turning lane has done wonders for the congestion on 1st Street…and what about the sidewalk restaurants to name another.

If you have not read it already I hope you will right click on the article below….How low you stoop.

The article mentioned is my own post on the”Wasaga Beach General & Marine Hospital.”

This second email, from hospital facilities committee member (?) and local developer Thomas Vincent to councillor Deb Doherty, says everything more eloquently and succinctly than I can about the issues, so I will reproduce it in its entirety. First Vincent’s introduction:

Deb:
I was forwarded this email from a few friends. This seemed to be in response to my email that went out last week about the Council decision to pass the motion regarding the Hospital support, Hume Street Location and Peer Review.
Your response doesn’t justify the specific issues I raised and others that have since come to light, including the memo that was sent by the Hospital to Mayor Cooper of August 25, five days before your Council Meeting, which explained the Hospital’s cooperation with Council. Apparently this letter was not distributed to all Council. Why was this?
To make sure, I have distributed this note to all Council. In regard to my letter to Council, I did not express my personal opinion about a site location, but took exception that the Council chose to make the Motion ‘political’ when you backed the existing Hume Street site and then decided you needed a peer study to ‘vet’ the Hospital application.
The Hospital has spent 18+ months in putting together this application to the Ontario Ministry and used very professional consultants, who are trained in the fields of hospital redevelopment and site selection.
As the Province pays for the Hospital development and chooses the site location, I’m puzzled that you and the Council think that you have the right, or the superior intelligence to contradict the consultants or the Province? As I mentioned in my note, to spend monies on a Peer review is ludicrous. What are you going to get out of the Peer Review that will provide ‘new details’ and persuade anyone about the Hospital Redevelopment. What are your credentials to make judgement on a $400 Million Hospital redevelopment?
In practical terms – and we all know this from experience, the Hospital Board will be working feverishly up till the last minute in putting all the details of the application together and you Council expects to do a Peer Review in advance of the application?
The timing doesn’t work. In addition, as I mentioned, the Province will spend their energy and personnel to respond to the application so why are you wanting to complete a Peer Review?
The application will be public when submitted and you can review at that time. And now is not the time to start a Council campaign about the location site of the Hospital.
If you and Council proceed down this path of campaigning for the Hospital site location and derail any of the process that the Hospital is working, you will have to deal with the public consequences.
In regard to your comments on the Hume Street location below, I must say that many of your arguments, in my mind, are frivolous and are not supported with sound Business judgement. If you had studied Hospital redevelopment over the past 10 years in Ontario, you will find that the same comments and arguments that were not founded.
In addition, none of your arguments take into consideration 2-3 years of the impact on patients, medical staff and the disruption they will have to suffer during a rebuild of the Hume Street site. The patient disruption, the parking fiascos, the constant medical redesign of systems on a weekly and monthly basis, and the addition layer of administrative planning to monitor constant changes to the Hospital, are horrendous. Note my comments to your outline below in CAPS.

Note: to make it easier to read, I have put Councillor Doherty’s comments in red, while Vincent’s are in bold (as well as CAPS as he said in his email). I have not edited or changed anything, aside from adding some paragraph breaks to make it easier to read.

Thank you for taking to time to express your opinion. I feel compelled to explain to you my position on the matter of the hospital redevelopment, and I hope that this will afford you an understanding of the other perspective. I will speak for myself, although I am confident my sentiments are shared in principal by all members of council.

I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED IF ‘ALL’ YOUR FELLOW COUNCILLORS FEEL THE SAME WAY AS YOU DO, AND KNOW THAT EVERYONE IS NOT ON BOARD AS YOU SAY.

First and foremost, I fully support the notion that a new hospital is desperately needed. However as the host community that will necessarily have to pick up the pieces of a bad decision, I have strong views as to where it should be located, and why. While the redevelopment committee may have undertaken an exhaustive study of the situation and the potential sites (the details of which Council has not seen), I feel they have failed to take into account a number of critical considerations. Collingwood Town Council is of the view that the preferred site is not appropriate, and that the best location would be at the current, expanded Hume Street site for the following reasons:

I THINK YOU SHOULD EXPLAIN IN DETAIL WHAT YOU MEAN ABOUT ‘PICKING UP THE PIECES OF A BAD DECISION’.

WHAT ARE THESE IMPORTANT PIECES? IF THEY ARE IMPORTANT, THEN DON’T YOU THINK THAT THESE SHOULD BE PART OF YOUR ARGUMENT? SECONDLY, HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT THE HUME ST. LOCATION IS THE BEST LOCATION WHEN ‘AS YOU SAY’ YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ALL THE DETAILS FROM THE HOSPITAL?

ARE YOU AWARE THAT THE HOSPITAL SENT A LETTER TO MAYOR COOPER AND COUNCIL THE WEEK BEFORE YOUR MOTION AGREEING TO PARTICIPATE IN A PEER REVIEW?

IF YOU WERE AWARE OF THAT, WHY THE GRANDSTANDING IN THE MOTION ABOUT SENDING YOUR ‘DEMANDS’ TO THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH. IF YOU WERE NOT AWARE OF THAT LETTER, DON’T YOU THINK YOU SHOULD BE ASKING YOURSELF WHO IS KEEPING INFORMATION FROM WHO?

1. Supports Provincial Growth Plan Policies: The Town of Collingwood was designated as a Primary Settlement Area by the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. As such, Collingwood has been directed to plan to create a complete community, which can meet people’s needs for daily living throughout an entire lifetime by providing convenient access to an appropriate mix of jobs, local services, a full range of housing, and community infrastructure (i.e. a hospital) including affordable housing, schools, recreation and open space for their residents. A sprawling community, such as what is created if the hospital moves outside of the built area of the community, negates that.

THIS IS A VERY LAME EXCUSE AND HOUSING WILL NOT NECESSARILY FOLLOW THE HOSPITAL IF IT IS RELOCATED. YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT A ‘COMPLETE COMMUNITY’ ARE PUZZLING.

IN REALITY, A PROVINCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT SUCH AS THIS HOSPITAL IS BUILT TO SERVE NOT ONLY COLLINGWOOD, BUT ALL FOUR COMMUNITIES, AND YOU TALK ONLY TO COLLINGWOOD.

2. Economic Spin-Off: Numerous small businesses, services and the corresponding jobs have grown up around the hospital and are dependent upon the traffic it creates to survive. The loss of the hospital will have severe negative implications for these businesses.

THESE BUSINESSES HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED FOR CONVENIENCE AND WILL, FOR THE MOST PART, REMAIN IN THEIR SAME LOCATION. THEY DON’T HAVE TO MOVE IF THE HOSPITAL RELOCATES. SOME BUSINESSES WILL FOLLOW.

NAME ALL THE BUSINESSES IN AROUND THE HOSPITAL AND TELL US WHICH WOULD MOVE OR ARE NECESSARILY ATTACHED TO THE HOSPITAL. FOR INSTANCE, I GO TO THE BLOOD CLINIC ON ERIE STREET. WOULD I GO SOMEWHERE ELSE IF THE HOSPITAL MOVES? NO.

IN REGARD TO THE NEW HOSPITAL IN BRAMPTON, THAT WAS MOVED TO A NEW SITE, THERE WAS VIRTUALLY NO IMPACT ON BUSINESSES SURROUNDING THE OLD HOSPITAL. JUSTIFY YOUR COMMENTS WITH FACTS.

3. Significant infrastructure investments from all three levels of government: The current Hume Street location has had significant taxpayer dollars invested in infrastructure improvements to ensure that Hume Street, as an arterial corridor, is able to provide service to the hospital and other health care services in the area. The Federal and Provincial governments both contributed to the Hume Street reconstruction, in recognition of the importance of access to the hospital.

HUME STREET WAS DEVELOPED BECAUSE IT WAS AN ARTERIAL ROAD AND FALLING APART, NOT BECAUSE OF THE HOSPITAL. IN FACT THERE WAS NO CONSULTATION WITH THE HOSPITAL AT ALL ABOUT REDEVELOPING HUME STREET. DESPITE THAT FACT, THE HOSPITAL WILL REMAIN ON HUME STREET UNTIL A NEW FACILITY IS BUILT IN SAY 8-10 YEARS, SO THE TAXPAYER INVESTMENT WILL BE HELPFUL FOR ABOUT THE NEXT DECADE.

THE PROPOSED GREENFIELD SITE HAS SUPERIOR ACCESS NO MATTER WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO HUME STREET.

4. Cost: The additional cost to provide new infrastructure to support the re-development is an unfair burden on the Town of Collingwood taxpayers when a significant investment has just been made at the current site.

I THINK YOU MAY BE REFERRING TO COSTS OF PUTTING IN SERVICING FOR A NEW GREENFIELD SITE WHICH IS SIMPLY A COST OF DOING BUSINESS, AN INVESTMENT IN OUR FUTURE.

MANY OF THE SERVICES ARE ALREADY RUN OUT TO GEORGIAN COLLEGE SO THE COST OF EXTENDING THOSE SERVICES WILL NOT BE SIGNIFICANT. THE COST WILL BE PART OF THE ‘LOCAL SHARE’ FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN WHICH WILL INVOLVE ALL FOUR COMMUNITIES AND OUR RECREATIONAL RESIDENTS, NOT THE DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY OF COLLINGWOOD TAXPAYERS.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SAYING ‘A SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT’ HAS BEEN MADE AT THE CURRENT SITE. IT IS OUTDATED AND THAT IS WHY WE NEED TO REDEVELOP.

5. Existing planning policies in support of health care: The Town of Collingwood has also passed policies to encourage the expansion of health-related uses around the existing hospital site, to better serve the people of the region. A significant number of medical uses have already invested in this area, in order to be located in close proximity to the CG&M.

THESE SERVICES, LIKE MEDICAL CLINICS WILL NOT LEAVE BECAUSE OF A NEW HOSPITAL RELOCATION. THEY CHOSE THEIR LOCATION DUE TO CONVENIENCE. IF IMPORTANT TO MOVE, THEY WILL HAVE 5-10 YEARS TO DECIDE AND CONSIDER IF A RELOCATION IF NEEDED.

IF YOU ARE REFERRING TO LOCAL PHYSICIANS, YOU SHOULD NOTE THAT MOST HAVE ALREADY MOVED OUT OF THE AREA. THERE ARE ONLY FIVE PHYSICIANS CURRENTLY PRACTICING OUT OF THE ERIE STREET MEDICAL CENTRE.

ALSO FYI, VIRTUALLY EVERY ‘ABANDONED’ HOSPITAL SITE IN THE PROVINCE HAS CONTINUED TO DELIVER VARIOUS ELEMENTS OF HEALTHCARE AFTER NEW INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED.

RECENT EXAMPLES OF WILLIAM OSLER, HUMBER RIVER, OAKVILLE TRAFALGAR ETC. AND THE SAME WILL HOLD FOR THE HUME STREET SITE IF ANOTHER SITE HAS BEEN SELECTED.

6. Reduced availability of good Industrial and Commercial Zoned Lands: The proposed location would take up 25 – 30 acres of lands already designated in the official plan as industrial and commercial. In a land-squeezed community like ours, the availability of a solid inventory of good industrial lands is critical to our ability to attract new business with well-paying jobs.

WE ARE NEVER GOING TO ATTRACT INDUSTRIAL BUSINESS AS POLITICIANS PROMISE – HAVEN’T DONE IN 10 YEARS, SO TELL ME SOMETHING DIFFERENT. WE HAVE LOT’S OF ROOM TO EXPAND.

GIVE ME FACTS ABOUT BEING LAND SQUEEZED, THE AVAILABILITY OF INDUSTRIAL LANDS AND THE NUMBER OF NEW INDUSTRIAL BUSINESSES COUNCIL HAS ATTRACTED OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS.

THE EFFICIENCIES AND THE COST SAVINGS OF BUILDING A HOSPITAL ON 30 ACRES OF VIRGIN LAND CANNOT BE OVERSTATED. WE ARE FORTUNATE THAT WE HAVE THE LAND AVAILABLE. THE HEALTH BENEFITS TO THE CITIZENS OF COLLINGWOOD AND THE ECONOMIC SPIN OFFS FROM EXPANDED HEALTHCARE IN A NEW SITE, FAR OUTWEIGHS ANY OTHER POTENTIAL USE OF SUCH VACANT LAND.

7. Proximity to existing health, community and transit services: The Hume Street location is in close proximity to many existing health care services providers, and also to a wide variety of community facilities and services to assist the public in accessing the hospital and health care. Trails, sidewalks and three Colltrans bus routes make it easy for anyone to travel to the hospital and nearby health care services. Also located near the current site are retirement homes, medical offices, restaurants and pharmacies, which are beneficial to hospital staff and those visiting the hospital.

SURE, IF PEOPLE LIVE WITHIN 10 MINUTES OF THE HOSPITAL, THEY MAY WALK, BUT THAT WOULD BE LESS THAN 5% OF THE HOSPITAL VISITS WHICH ARE MOSTLY BY CAR. THE BUS CAN BE USED TO ANY LOCATION. YES SMALL RESTAURANTS WOULD BE AFFECTED.

PERHAPS YOU’RE NOT AWARE THAT COLLTRANS ALREADY SERVICES GEORGIAN COLLEGE EVERY HALF HOUR AND THAT THERE ARE A MYRIAD OF TRAILS ALREADY RUNNING VERY CLOSE TO THE AREA. THE TRAILS WOULD ONLY REQUIRE SHORT EXTENSIONS.

BUT PARKING IS A HUGE ISSUE. NO HOSPITAL IN THE PROVINCE HAS EVER BUILT ENOUGH PARKING FOR STAFF AND PATIENTS. 95% OF PATIENTS COME TO THE HOSPITAL BY CAR. RE ROUTING BUSES IS NOT A PROBLEM.

8. Future of the Current Site if the hospital moves: Who will pay for the redevelopment of this huge section of town?

THIS LAND WOULD BE SNAPPED UP BY A DEVELOPER AND REDEVELOPED, PROBABLY FOR OTHER EXPANDED HEALTHCARE NEEDS IN THE COMMUNITY – OR POSSIBLY FOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT DEPENDING IF THE TOWN WAS FLEXIBLE ENOUGH TO CHANGE ZONING ETC.

9. Finally, every single aspect of the planned services of the new hospital can be delivered, regardless of the location. AGREED. Ultimately, I am prepared to support whatever location can be proven to be the best from the point of view of planning, economic, and social factors, but thus far, the board have provided us with no compelling reason to change our opinion. It is for this reason that we must be permitted to exercise our due diligence and have a peer review undertaken of the entire redevelopment study.
Yours very truly, Deborah Doherty Councillor, Town of Collingwood ddoherty@collingwood.ca 705-321-9774 Home: 705-444-7274

I HAVE ALREADY COMMENTED ON THE APPLICATION PROCESS AND NO NEED FOR A PEER REVIEW BY COUNCIL. YOU AND COUNCIL WILL TRY AND FIND VACUOUS IDEAS TO THEN JUSTIFY YOUR EXPENSE OF A PEER REVIEW. YOUR CONSTITUENTS WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS WASTE OF TAXPAYER FUNDS.
THOM VINCENT

~~~~~

You might consider writing to our councillors, yourself, if you feel they have made the wrong decision. And if you’d like your email or letter published online, please send me a copy, too.

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