A Revised Timeline Ensures OUR New Hospital’s Future – A Message from the PECM Hospital Foundation Back the Build Campaign
Dear residents of and visitors to Prince Edward County,
Our new hospital IS moving ahead!
Earlier this month, we received word that the opening date for our new hospital in Prince Edward County is projected to be in 2027, not 2025 as initially projected.
We are as disappointed as you are, but we understand the reasons in the context of a major infrastructure construction such as this. As the PECM Hospital Foundation committee responsible for fundraising the community’s share of the new building and equipment costs, we want to share with you why the revised timeline has been put in place.
As you may realize, the Ministry of Health undertakes significant financial and technical analysis at each of the several stages of new hospital construction projects. Sometimes other events can slow the process. In our case, one of the reasons is that the pandemic hit. Understandably, the ministry’s focus quickly shifted to that pressing priority which caused early approval stages for our hospital to take longer than initially projected. However, in October, Premier Doug Ford and MPP Bay of Quinte and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Todd Smith announced the government had approved the planning submission, had committed $8.7M of government funding, and signaled the hospital project was moving ahead.
It was great news. At the time Todd Smith said, “Today’s significant investment for planning provides tangible evidence that a new state-of-the-art Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital will be built to meet the evolving and emergent needs of this community. Our government’s commitment to this project will strengthen the health care system in our region and bolster the local economy and residents’ quality of life.”
Additional reinforcement came more recently when the government passed responsibility for overseeing the hospital planning and construction process to Infrastructure Ontario (IO).
IO is a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario that supports the Ontario government’s initiatives to modernize and maximize the value of public infrastructure and real estate by acting as the overall ‘general contractor’ for the government, with responsibility for meeting budget and timing. It upholds the government’s commitment to renew public services and does so in co-operation with the private sector.
Assigning IO to our hospital project is another piece of good news. We feel strengthened by the opportunity to work with them. Although this addition to the project contributes to the revised timeline for completion of the building, it also ensures the new hospital continues to move forward. This should be reassuring for all of us.
Quinte Health Care (QHC) considers this new hospital a high priority.
Stacey Daub, who became QHC’s President and CEO in early January said, “Being a new resident of Prince Edward County, I am inspired by the passion residents have for their community hospital and the level of commitment and support for a new QHC PECMH. I am thrilled that the next step in the approval process was endorsed by our QHC Board of Directors in January and is now in the hands of the Ministry of Health. We look forward to moving ahead to the more detailed hospital design work. I know it is disappointing that the original project timelines ended up being optimistic – but that’s the challenge with timeline estimates for a project of this magnitude. Approval timelines and processes are dependent on the many competing priorities of government. This is especially true in the current pandemic environment. But have no doubt, the new hospital is a priority project for QHC, and we are moving full steam ahead.”
The PECM Hospital Foundation’s mission is to raise the funds needed to enable the purchase of priority medical equipment for our current hospital. That includes the responsibility of raising the community’s share of the funds needed to build and equip the new hospital. We lead a group of passionate volunteers who comprise our Back the Build Campaign Cabinet who, on behalf of the foundation, have taken on the job of raising these funds in our community. Together, we are confident we can meet the ministry’s funding requirements at every stage through to the completion of our hospital building by working collaboratively with QHC, our municipality and the Province toward our goal.
Foundation Board Chair Barbara McConnell said, “We are thankful for the hard work of the Back the Build Campaign Cabinet. And, we are tremendously grateful for the support we have received from our community in the way of donations of every size. We are excited and energized by the way members of this community have stepped forward to make pledges and grants, and to pass over hard-earned dollars from sales of everything from tee-shirts to Christmas photos. We have come a long way. We have raised close to $15M in pledges, so far. But we still have the hard work of raising the remaining funds required. Ironically, the extended timeline may give us the extra time we need to raise the remaining $1.5M and to turn pledges into cash-in-the-bank.”
In fact, the foundation will begin making payments towards construction in 2024 which means there is increased pressure for donations to be received by the foundation. The community’s share of the cost will not be affected. Our goal remains $16.5M.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors and staff along with our Campaign Cabinet volunteers and our donors are committed to seeing the new hospital become a reality, ensuring every resident and visitor to Prince Edward County has access to exceptional care when it is needed. If you love the County, please Back the Build.
Nancy Parks, Back the Build Campaign Co-Chair
Dennis Darby, Back the Build Campaign Co-Chair
Shannon Coull, CFRE, Executive Director – PECMHF
Early architectural rendering of the new QHC PECMH