Footings underway

The dream of a new hospital to replace the current aging Groves hospital is now a reality.

With shovels at the ready, officials posed for the ceremonial ground breaking. It’s taken years to get to this point.

As the dignitaries spoke it was heartening to see the County of Wellington receive praise for its generous donations towards the project. In total the county had pledged over $10 million to secure a site and ensure the fundraising demand from the province was met.

It goes without saying that numerous people have spent a good part of their working career, whether as a bureaucrat or politician, to keep pushing the project forward. Ted Arnott, our local MPP has demonstrated why it is so important to have a champion at Queen’s Park.

Locally we have active participants too – from county councillors who said yes in the first place to people who sit on the hospital board and the Groves foundation.

Without consistent on-going support the vision for a new hospital might not have been successful. Luckily, they stuck with it, and 15- plus years later ground has been broken on a brand new facility.

At this point the need for fundraising continues.

The two chief elements are continuing to generate funds for the building itself and putting together a war chest for new equipment and other needs.

Over the coming months, new opportunities to donate will present themselves and we encourage residents to step up and help as they can.

For many of us residing in the catchment area of Groves, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something significant for the future of this community. Our company and family have increased our donation to help get this hospital fundraising over the finish line – we believe in this project that much.

Footings today, walls tomorrow – the new Groves is finally on the way.

Grants, nods and winks

Call it seed money, a one-time deal, a leg-up or whatever way sounds good – grants don’t always end up as intended.

Case in point is the Town of Erin’s recent council meeting where the East Wellington Community Services executive sought to get their rent lowered. The group initially set up the food bank with a $2 annual rent for some space at the Centre 2000. From that point the rent has increased to $910 per month plus HST. This figure does include hydro costs of $350.

We are sure in time, council and the group will work out the numbers and come to an arrangement. But there is a larger picture issue that comes with this conversation.

For many years, we would say local government was great at cutting side deals. Groups of benefit to the community would often get a break on rent or receive other hidden benefits to defray costs. There was nothing disparaging or corrupt, but it always struck us a peculiar way to run a set of books, when true costs weren’t identified accurately.

In recent years, the cost of hydro has practically doubled, the cost of construction and maintenance has gone up, as has the overall cost to do most anything. To believe a rental arrangement of $2 in perpetuity is fair or reasonable, strikes us a bit naïve.

While the town or other funding partners may come to the fore and make the book-keeping exercise academic, facilities such as this cost money to operate and that should be identified.