By Mike Williscraft
In another important step toward West Lincoln Memorial Hospital’s rebuilding, fundraising chair Andrew Smith presented the “ask” to Niagara Region’s Corporate Services Committee on Monday.
“No funding dollars have yet been announced. We did make a presentation tying the hospital services and value back to the proposed funding principles. A policy that can be applied to WLMH and future funding requests has not yet been finalized,” said Smith.
With an “ask” of $14 million towards the $60 million community share of the overall projected $200 rebuild, Lincoln Reg. Coun. Rob Foster, who chairs Corporate Services, said something in the $10.8 million range is more likely.
“I am not sure where it is going to land yet. Part of the formula, if adopted by council, includes regional components, a piece that requires some definition yet and will be the focus for us over the next few weeks,” said Foster.
“If using direct comparisons with St. Catharines, the amount spent by the Region was 18 per cent of the total local cost. Eighteen per cent of $60 million is $10.8 million, which is where that number comes from. This is a terrific first step and I personally am extremely pleased. Committee has approved a model that will be unique to Niagara, but also fair to all the Region.”
Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton agreed.
“Yesterday (Monday)was a positive indication that the Region is moving in a direction that incorporates the social determinants of health in their evaluation of projects that come forward,” Easton said.
“I was happy to see overwhelming support for the concept of a fair formula to support WLMH and other hospital projects that will be forthcoming to the region. “
Smith said the consultant’s report did provide a range for hospital projects that would see included in it, a range from 18-21 per cent of the local share, and the determinants of reaching the maximum level within that range based on regional services, economic and social benefits.
“I am hopeful that we will see the maximum or close to it, in terms of regional support,” added Smith.
The possible funding formula is expected to be on the Dec. 9 Corporate Services agenda and a funding contribution could be recommended at that time.