By Mike Williscraft
On occasion, getting a political ball rolling can be the biggest challenge for any major initiative.
Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton is hoping that proves true after getting Niagara Region staff to start “exploratory conversations” regarding potential funding opportunities for West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.
Regional council approved a motion put forward by Easton at its Feb. 20 meeting which could prove key to reaching the current $60 million local fundraising goal for the proposed WLMH rebuild which has a price tag set at $200 million.
The motion reads:
“That staff from Niagara Region BE DIRECTED to begin to formally discuss and engage in exploratory conversations with staff from all three West Niagara municipalities respecting a new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital to determine next steps and any potential options for consideration pertaining to funding opportunities from Niagara Region.”
Easton noted the motion also received full support from Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan, West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma, Lincoln Reg. Coun. Rob Foster and West Lincoln Reg. Coun. Albert Witteveen. Grimsby Reg. Coun. Wayne Fertich was on vacation.
“The rebuilding of the hospital is a pivotal issue facing West Niagara, and one that all three local area councils have endorsed as being a priority for our communities. There is a role for the Region to play in the rebuilding of the hospital, and my hope is that staff from the respective municipalities will come together to discuss how we can move this priority project forward,” said Easton after the meeting.
WLMH Action Committee co-chair Tony Joosse is also hoping Niagara Region comes through.
“Niagara Region needs to invest in our hospitals throughout the region. They have in the past with St. Catharines. Now it is our time in Niagara West, the fastest growing part of Niagara,” said Joosse.