Two Niagara-area hospitals closer to funding

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Two Niagara Region hospitals - one existing, one slated to be built down the road - are inching their way closer to the funding they say they need.

In a report to be presented to the Region’s Budget Review Committee of the Whole on June 17, Helen Chamberlain, director of financial management and planning in the Corporate Services department, recommended that $10.5 million be allotted for the expansion of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby and a further $44.5 million be set aside for the construction of the new South Niagara Hospital in Niagara Falls.

“The $44.5 million request for the (South Niagara) development requires incremental funding,” said Chamberlain. “There is an opportunity to spread the (South Niagara) Hospital contributions over 30 years. Niagara Health will debt finance at substantial completion and incur the financing costs.”

“The Region would then provide an annual contribution to Niagara Health to cover the Regional portion of Niagara Health’s debt servicing costs.”

The West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) was built in 1943 and while it may have served its constituents well decades ago, many say that it’s in been desperate need of expansion for many years. It is also the closest hospital to the east end of Hamilton, the Stoney Creek area.

If granted, the WLMH expansion would be complete before the end of 2024.

The proposed South Niagara Hospital is clearly a larger-scale project, a 469-bed facility, that if all the pieces fall into place will be completed by the Fall of 2016.

The Niagara Health Foundation (NHF) has been a huge proponent of the South Niagara Hospital since submitting a proposal for its construction to the Ministry of Health back in September 2019.

In a release, the NHF said, “The new hospital will be an integral part of a connected healthcare system that will improve the patient and caregiver experience and strengthen access to local services.”

“Our planning is looking ahead for the decades to come, and part of this planning includes designing an infrastructure to accommodate technology and delivery of healthcare services in ways we cannot even envision now.”

It is expected to pass at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting with an eye towards including both projects in the Budget 2022 deliberations.

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