Approved! Muskoka plans to build two new hospitals at the cost of $600M
Published Thursday, October 10, 2019 6:37PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 11, 2019 12:45PM EDT
The future of healthcare in Muskoka has just become clearer after the task force announced its endorsement to the board this afternoon.
The Capital Plan Development Task Force advised the board of directors that building a new hospital on new land in Bracebridge and a new hospital on existing land in Huntsville was the best option.
The Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare Board of Directors wasted no time voting unanimously in favour of the recommendation.
The issue of healthcare in Muskoka has been a contentious one for years. In 2015, the board proposed moving ahead with a one-location site model, suggesting doing away with one or both existing hospitals.
But the task force that was formed proposed that wasn't in the best interest of the people in Muskoka.
The two new hospitals will come at the cost of $600 million with taxpayers on the hook for $74 million.
Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith says the municipality will aim to find ways to reduce the strain on resident's wallets. "Small towns are somewhat unfairly burdened with the provincial funding formula that sees us pay 10 percent-plus of the costs of these projects, and we want to keep working with the province to try and get that number lower."
Smith was part of the task force and tells CTV News he is pleased with the decision today, saying Bracebridge's hospital is ageing. "It's new in the front and old in the back. It's like a time machine. You walk into the 2000s, and you kinda walk out in the 1950s out the back door."
Construction on the projects won't begin for some time. Officials expect shovels to be in the ground in 2026.
- With files from CTV's Beatrice Vaisman