Councillor asks for equality for county medical office spending

A coun­ty coun­­cillor here is con­cerned if his municipality does not need a library it will get no help to build a medical centre.
But Warden John Green indicated right back if people want a medical facility, they should take action on their own.
Councillor Lou Maieron’s proposal will be considered by the county administration, finance, and personnel com­mittee, but his municipality was gently chided by Green for sitting on its hands when it comes to building a medical clinic.
The issue was discussed as a notice of motion by Maieron for the county council meeting last month. He said the purpose of his motion is to suggest policy improvements to the new dual facility policy to make it “more equitable and in­clusive to all member muni­ci­palities in the county.”
Maieron said medical facilities have been attached to a library in Clifford, and one will be built with a library in Arthur this year.
“What if you are a muni­ci­pality that doesn’t require a library – but you need a medical facility?” he asked.
Erin does not need a new library. Centre 2000 was built at the turn of this century as a joint library and high school, along with a theatre. It was the first in a string of new county libraries. It cost the county millions as its share of the con­struction.
Since then, though, more libraries have been built and lower tier municipalities have asked that medical centres be attached to two of them.
Maieron said Erin needs three new doctors, and Guelph-Eramosa needs one, and one there is going to retire soon. Medical centres can help to attract health care providers.
He said, “It’s my under­standing that if we don’t need a library, our medical centre doesn’t qualify.”
He added that Ken Dardano, of the East Wellington Ad­visory Group, had come to county council last November seeking help for a Family Health Team, but aid was deni­ed with the county stating that it would keep its current hos­pital policy intact.
“We have no hospital in the south,” Maieron said. He wondered if policy for providing medical centres in one part of the county should not apply in others.
He said that he has given the warden a letter asking the administration, finance, and per­sonnel committee to deal with the issue.
Warden John Green told him, “Some people who are progressive built their own clinics.” He added that coun­cillor Joanne Ross-Zuj, of Centre Wellington, “can attest to that.”
He was referring to Mapleton and Centre Wellington Townships pro­vid­ing their own medical clinics to attract doctors, without county help or attaching them to county projects.
Wellington has not actually built medical centres in Clif­ford or Arthur, either. It did partner and make financial arrangements with Minto and Well­ington North, respectively, to allow clinics to be attached to libraries that were going to be built in any case.
Green said that if people want the county to continue to do work of the lower tiers, “Let’s go to one tier [gov­ern­ment] … We can vote on one tier today.”
He added that the county has treated each area equitably, and if Erin wants to build something, the county can help finance it, but the cost would be born at the lower tier, not by county residents. That is how the other two medical facilities were completed.
Maieron said his concern is that council had passed a motion to consider a policy for medical centres, and nothing had come back.