City commits to providing half of Brampton’s local share of new hospital without introducing tax levy

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Published December 7, 2021 at 1:42 pm

The City has committed to investing $62 million in capital funds towards Brampton’s local share of the second hospital, which will involve redeveloping the current Peel Memorial Centre.

During a Budget Committee meeting on Monday (December 6), Council voted in favour of adding $40 million from the City’s infrastructure reserve to the $22 million that has already been allocated for the new hospital.

As a result, the City has committed to providing half of their local share, which amounts to $125 million, which Brampton is required to contribute towards the new hospital.

The hope from the City is that Peel Regional Council will see Brampton’s commitment to the hospital, and commit to providing the other 50 per cent, in order to spare Brampton taxpayers from having to cover the entire cost.

“People are being treated in hallways—taxpayers who have been paying taxes to the City and the Region,” Charmaine Williams, Regional Councillor for Wards 7 and 8, said during the meeting. “Our residents deserve to reap some of the financial benefits from the Regional tax dollars that they are paying, because we’ve seen the Region increase taxes every single year since I’ve been on this council.”

Rowena Santos, Regional Councillor for Wards 1 and 5, who brought forward the motion, suggested, with the City having committed to half the funding, Council can refrain from implementing a tax levy until the Region makes a decision on providing a contribution.

“We can wait until January to see what the Region says, before we implement a levy to fund the remaining portion through the taxpayers,” Santos said.

Williams emphasized her desire to see the City provide as much funding as possible without having to resort to increasing taxes for residents.

“We need to see this hospital built while minimizing the impact on our taxpayers,” she said.

However, while the motion passed, it wasn’t unanimous—Martin Medeiros, Regional Councillor for Wards 3 and 4; and Doug Whillans, Regional Councillor for Wards 2 and 6 expressed concern with using capital from the infrastructure reserve to fund the hospital.

“I have difficulties raiding our reserve, and frankly, I know it’s a creative way, I just don’t know how responsible it is from a long-term financial perspective,” Medeiros said. “To me, this seems like really dangerous financial planning.”

Whillans also pointed out using this funding for the hospital means other infrastructure projects would have to be put on hold, which he feels does a disservice to some residents.

“We have a lot of people who live in parts of the city where the infrastructure is aging and is going to need to be replaced soon,” he said. “If we keep taking from our infrastructure capital, those improvements are going to be delayed even more.”

While he addressed Medeiros’ and Whillans’ concerns, Mayor Patrick Brown expressed his belief that health care was worth that size of an investment from the City.

“I think health care is worthy of this kind of commitment,” he said. “This is not the end of our health care lobbying, it’s a step in the right direction, and it’s a significant step.”

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