Hospital destruction avoided… for now

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Sorry he got caughtCongratulations. Your efforts worked. After getting severe backlash from the community and even from their (former) supporters, The Block was chastised enough to recant their stubborn foolishness long enough to approve the hospital redevelopment after their previous debacle caused such an uproar.

That earlier motion blindsided council, the mayor and the hospital board: they had not shared with others before it was read aloud. A blatant show of partisanship and petty personal agendas over the greater good

The Block always plays to its supporters, no matter how drastically that group has shrunk over the past two years. And that little group was in the audience for that first motion to make sure their pet politicians followed the script. Which, of course, Blockheads did.

Still, with the threat of the hospital moving out of town directly because of their actions – or worse, not happening at all! – The Block was pressured by saner heads to back down. They folded like an origami frog and accepted the conciliatory motion at the Sept. 12 council meeting, which read:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Council of the Corporation of the Town of Collingwood herein support the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital Board Trustees’ decision to submit its Stage 1A Master Program and Stage 1B Master Plan on September 30, 2016 to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, which includes both their preferred site and other viable options;
AND FURTHER THAT Collingwood Council is committed to ensuring a future with excellent healthcare for the region, which also includes the Township of Clearview, Town of The Blue Mountains and the Town of Wasaga Beach.

Nice, safe, supportive motion with a little wiggle room. Let the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care know we support our hospital and we want it to stay in Collingwood. Now, just quietly shove the former motion into the shredder.

But it was a near run thing. With this group of a half-dozen Dennis The Menaces in control, it almost didn’t come to be.

Last week, there was a meeting of representatives from all four regional municipalities within the hospital’s catchment area: Collingwood, Clearview, Wasaga Beach and Town of the Blue Mountains. As I understand it, the meeting was called to get Collingwood to see sense and get off its path to destruction.

In attendance were mayors, deputy mayors, council hospital board reps and administrative staff, as well as hospital board members. From Collingwood that included Mayor Cooper, Deputy Mayor Saunderson, Councillor Jeffrey and interim CAO Brown.

My sources say that through the entire two-hour meeting, Brown, Saunderson and Jeffrey argued vociferously and aggressively against the hospital being redeveloped on the proposed Poplar Sideroad site. I’m told they stated adamantly over and over that they would NOT support the motion above. The others present were bemused by their unshakably deep sense of self-entitlement.

I’m told all were warned that if this group persisted in its intransigence, the Ministry would either take the CG&M Hospital off the list or move it to Wasaga Beach.

Yet the Blockheads defended their ideology; they left the others with the expectation that yesterday’s motion would be overturned.

Then the Block’s little band of followers made a last-ditch effort to upset the process, too. Late Sunday afternoon, John Sewell sent an email to council and staff requesting a deputation to speak about the hospital location, before the Monday vote. He also demanded that council change the wording of the motion to include a line watering down council’s supportable and giving the group future opportunities to interfere in the process.

Not hard to see who pulls the strings, is it? But fortunately our mayor allowed neither delegation nor amendment. Kudos to her: she saved the hospital.

When the motion came to the table, all of council voted in favour. The chastened Block uttered nary an argument and raised hands, metaphorical tails between their legs. Crow was served and eaten.

Deputy Mayor Saunderson just had to grandstand with one of his clichéd comments about the town doing its “due diligence,” but that’s just more diaphanous piffle.

The Block’s efforts to sideline the hospital’s redevelopment are, for now, curtailled. And that’s in large part thanks to you, dear reader, making the effort to set them straight. Now if only we could have done the same earlier and saved the airport, Collus-PowerStream, our water utility, our integrity commissioner, our reputation, the shared services agreement, staff morale… one wonders what our little Menaces will target next…

Collingwood deserves better.

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