Aboyne area near new Terrace heavy favourite as hospital site

Centre Well­ing­ton residents were to hear on Wed­nesday night that the site of the new hospital is likely to be somewhere near Aboyne, and close to the new Welling­ton Terrace seniors’ home.
That meeting was held after the Wellington Advertiser dead­­line, but Chief Executive Offi­cer Jerome Quenneville made the announcement in an inter­view on Monday morning.
He said the Dec. 12 meeting was de­signed to give residents an update on the hospital board’s progress towards a new hospital.
There was a glitch in ad­vertising that meeting in the Wellington Advertiser though, as it never did receive the announcement.
Quenneville said the board was placing posters around Cen­tre Wellington, particularly in the post offices, to ensure that residents were aware of the meeting.
He said the board was also considering radio advertis­ing, as well as running announcements on the local Cogeco cable TV channel.
Quenneville said, though, the final site is not yet sel­ected.
“Right now, we’re narrow­ing it down to an area close to the Terrace,” he said.
He added that talks include not only Wellington County, which owns extensive property in the area, but also individual property owners in Aboyne.
The board will need a minimum of 30 acres, and Quenneville said the major cri­teria will include services such as sewer, water, communica­tion capabilities, and also how flat the site is.
He said of the Aboyne area, “There is a good opportunity for us.” But, he added, “At this point, we’ve left our options open.”
Quenneville said that means the board will have to do soil tests and consult with engineers before making a final decision.
As well, he said, the board will consider such things as “other community services it makes sense to have in that area.”
He agreed that Aboyne is just outside the old Fergus boundary, about half way between that town and Elora.
“We’re kind of getting to that middle ground,” he said of the possible location.
Financial report
The board decided to build a new hospital because the current Groves building in Fergus is land­locked.
As well, the board said, it would cost $64-million to build a new hospital or to renovate the old one.
But on Monday, Quenne­ville said of the cost, “We’re looking at $71-million – that’s in today’s dollars.”
He said if it takes until 2012 to build the new hospital, the cost, at a 7% increase per year, will reach over $100-million.
Quenneville said going to the public is still working in the first step of the building pro­cess.
The province provided $500,000 for initial planning work on the new hospital.
Once a site is chosen, the board will consult with engi­neers and start considering what the building might look like, such as the design of rooms.
That could take a year, and that work would have to be approved by the province.
“If they accept that plan, we can go to approval and call tenders,” Quenneville said, add­ing, “We hope to get to the next state – planning rooms – sooner. All the detailed plan­ning takes about a year. ­Then, we look for approval.”
Quenneville said the Aboyne Hall holds only 140 people, and said the board apol­o­gizes if anyone was not accommodated because the hall was too full.
He said anyone who could not attend but wants to see the board’s PowerPoint presenta­tion, it will be on the hospital’s web site by Thursday morning.
Plus, he said, people will have an opportunity to com­ment at the meeting, through the web site, or directly, and the board is looking for support or suggestions.