Groups donate Catch the Ace proceeds to Groves

ELORA – “It really does take a community to raise a hospital,” said Groves president and CEO Stephen Street at the May 21 meeting of the Rotary Club of Fergus-Elora. 

The Rotary Club and the Fergus Legion presented Groves Hospital Foundation with a cheque for $44,707 from the recent Catch the Ace draw. 

The Rotary Club and Legion were both thinking of running a Catch the Ace contest, first made popular in Nova Scotia, so they decided to partner.  

The first draw was made on Oct. 7 and the ace of spades was drawn on April 28, with John Fines of Fergus winning the $30,000 rolling jackpot. 

The $44,707 donation puts the Rotary Club of Fergus-Elora over $400,000 in its $500,000 pledge to the new Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Aboyne. 

“It just shows that if we work together we can accomplish anything,” said Catch the Ace committee chair Jim Gibbons. 

“I haven’t suggested to the Rotary yet, but maybe someday we’ll look at making it a million dollars.”

The Wellington Advertiser was the third big contributor to the Catch the Ace draw, providing printed tickets, signs and running ads in the newspaper. 

“That’s why it’s successful – a lot to do with the help from the Wellington Advertiser,” Gibbons said.

Street thanked the Rotary Club and the Legion for the donation. 

“I think the Rotary Club of Fergus-Elora has done an amazing job over the years, very generous commitment to us and your leadership in partnering with other organizations like the Legion, like the Advertiser on creative, innovative fundraising ideas like Catch the Ace is really a testament to the power that you bring to service and service above self,” he said. 

Street also provided an update on the new hospital. 

With construction just under seven months away from substantial completion, he predicts services will be moving to the new facility next spring. 

With a hospital that’s 50 per cent larger in size, Street said officials have applied to the government to increase staffing by more than 20%. 

“That’s a negotiated number obviously … the ministry and our current government is under a lot of fiscal challenges,” he said.  

“We want to be a good partner to deliver cost effective, efficient care … We’re very confident that we’ll be a good partner to the government and we’re working with them and partnering with our other delivery partners, with our physicians, our family health teams, home and community care, long-term care, because we know reform is coming. 

“No public sector will be untouched and we know that we can make a difference in advancing that agenda.”

However, just because Groves is moving out of the current Union Street site in Fergus, it doesn’t mean that location won’t still be used for health care. 

“Our board has met and deliberated, looked at a number of scenarios and they’ve reached the conclusion that we would like to continue with that facility to support critical care, medical care to the residents of Centre Wellington,” Street said. 

The board has submitted three different proposals to the government and it hopes to hear within the next couple months about possible funding. 

Street said the greatest gap in the health care system is for people with dementia or “behaviourals” who are very difficult to support in a long-term care home or facility. 

“We’ve got some innovative proposals that will help support patients like that through our continuum, so that’s really our goal moving forward,” he said. 

Another common question, Street noted, is whether or not there will be paid parking at the new site. Though it seems the government is expecting paid parking, Street said the board of directors has yet to make a decision. 

“If we do not have to we will not,” Street said. “That is my personal interpretation of the board’s desire. But we expect that decision will be finalized probably by March of next year.”

Another Catch the Ace draw started on May 5. The net proceeds of the second draw are to be split evenly between Groves hospital and Rotary’s other local community projects.

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