Hospital work gets significant cash infusion

The expansion at the La Verendrye hospital got a much needed shot in the arm yesterday afternoon as the province announced an additional $4.5 million grant required to complete the project.
Tourism and Recreation minister Brian Coburn was in Fort Frances to inspect the local Ontario Tourism Centre due to declining traffic, and meet with local tourism industry members at the Manitou Mounds.
But upon hearing he was in town, the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care recruited him to announce the funding.
“We’re announcing good news here today,” said Coburn, reading from a letter outlining the funding from Minister of Health Tony Clement. “The ministry has approved an additional grant of $4.5 million.”
“The Eves government is committed to ensuring that Fort Frances area residents have access to high-quality hospital services in modern, state-of-the-art hospital facilities,” relayed Coburn. “The redevelopment of the La Verendrye site will offer local residents better access to the care and services they need.”
The expansion project, which began in 1999 at a projected cost of just over $3 million, ballooned in costs over the years. The redeveloped hospital will include expanded surgical suites, a diagnostic imaging area, expanded laboratory and pharmacy facilities.
“Somebody gave it some growth hormones,” he joked of the expanded project.
Coburn announced that the additional funding brings the provincial commitment to the project ($7,461,101) to 75 percent of the total project cost of $9,948,134.
“It’s the result of a lot of hard work,” he said, recognizing local fundraising organizers and political pressure put on by municipal leaders.
“There was $3.2 million raised [in the community].” “[The additional grant shows] the province is deeply committed to this community,” he added.
Holding up the letter from Minister Clement, Coburn said jokingly, “It’s signed by Minister Clement—it’s just as good as a cheque!” “This money brings the entire project together for us,” said Craig Sanders, chair of the board.
“The dollars are very important,” added Wayne Woods, CEO of Riverside Health Care Facilities.
“The community did their share, now the government has done their share.
“This is a badly needed project,” he continued. “It offers much better access to people in the area. It offers care in a situation that is much better than it is right now.”