Lincoln approves motion to confirm funding formula for WLMH rebuild

By Tristan Marks

The Town of Lincoln confirmed that it will be paying its part in the effort to bring the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital rebuild to fruition.

Lincoln council voted unanimously to pass a motion at Monday’s special electronic meeting which confirmed the Town’s financial commitment – with Grimsby and West Lincoln – for its share of WLMH rebuild costs.

All three municipalities will continue to pursue possible funding support from Niagara Region as Phase 2 of the process includes confirmation of support from Niagara West municipalities, Region and WLMH Foundation.

This funding from West Niagara municipalities will cover 10 per cent of the new hospital’s construction cost, along with 100 per cent of all furniture, fixtures and equipment. The other 90 per cent of the construction cost will be covered by the Province of Ontario.

The estimated that the total local contribution to be shared among West Niagara will come in at about $60 million.

The electronic meeting was accompanied by delegates representing many of the project’s stakeholders, who voiced their organization’s support for the hospital rebuild.

Andrew Smith, chair of the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Community Advisory Committee thanked everyone present including Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, and Save & Rebuild West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Committee vice-chair Tony Joosse for their on-going commitment towards making the project a reality.

“I’ve been involved with the new hospital project for 17 years and this is the most support we’ve seen at the grassroots level,” said Smith.

“If all our ducks are lined up, I think this is the time that we can get this done.”

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) vice-president of communications and public affairs Aaron Levo acknowledged the need to get the rebuild done “quickly and expeditiously”.

“We did have this challenge with the pandemic that we’re facing now, but I’m happy to say that we’re still on time for our plan to rebuild the hospital,” said Levo.

Oosterhoff thanked Lincoln for its determination and unity, noting that all of West Niagara’s municipalities, “have been unanimous on this since day one.”

“Our government’s commitment is to work with you and to work with the HHS team to make this a reality as soon as possible,” said Oosterhoff.

“My commitment is to work with you to get this across the finish line.”

However, Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton pointed out the difficult road that led to this point and referenced the two decades long wait for a hospital rebuild.

“To those of you who are watching this meeting, make no mistake, we are being very political about this tonight,” said Easton.

“It may sound as though it was an easy road, but it really hasn’t been. It’s taken everyone’s determination to make this possible.”

According to the report submitted by Lincoln CAO Mike Kirkopoulos, the Town’s anticipated share will be $11 million. The Town has accumulated $2.2 million in reserves over the past two decades which will go toward fulfilling this financial commitment.

West Lincoln Council approved a similar motion at its own meeting on the same night.

Grimsby’s council passed a similar motion at its May 4 meeting.

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