CFN – The meeting space at McConnell Manor was full in Cornwall Ontario as presentations and consultations took place. Organized by Mark A Macdonald, former City Councilor and two high school students (Josh Welsh &Emily Ladoucer-MacDonald) The public was able to discuss the future of the old Cornwall General Hospital; something that CCH management are refusing to do as you can see in our interview footage with both Jeanette Despatie & Helen Periard.
While Ms Periard & Despatie are insisting on the sale being a “Done Deal” members of the public are wrestling with the lack of communication to the public or accountability. It’s almost impossible to figure out whose really responsible and why the sale has been handled in the manner it has.
First speaker was City Councilor and member of the board of the EOHU, Andre Rivette.
What we do know and confirm is that the Hospital cannot be sold without permission of the Minster of Health, Deb Matthews.
We do know that City Councilor Bernadette Clement is on new Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team. IE she has the ear of the Premier to nibble on about gaining support for Healthcare in the region.
We do know that the plan nearly a decade ago was to move the Hospital, but this scribbler sees no documents that suggest that this hospital change hands in the manner that it has.
We do know that in spite of the EOHU wanting a Task force to look at alternative health care uses for the facility that Ms. Periard & Despatie put the hospital up for sale without having a RSP for which real estate company would handle the sale and instead tossed it over to Remax whose Terry Langdon handled the Benson centre lands as well.
We know that the hospital is refusing to share if they really did have an evaluation and if so who performed the evaluation. As you’ll see in the question session video that one gentleman showed up with comparative listings that made the $2M sticker price non-sensical.
We know that there seems to be a total vacuum of leadership from the Mayor to the MP. While our MPP showed up late and has been positive he seems to be shying away from actually stepping up and one, asking for a continuation of the funding for the 32 short term care beds at Second Street nor is he seeming willing to find solutions to protect the facility for the future.
MPP McDonell arrived late to the meeting and did not speak. He did answer questions after from myself and Greg Kielec of The Journal.
We also know that no clear numbers are available as to the clear costs of using this facility.
See all the players have the same answer; that it’s not their area of responsibility. And to a degree they’re right. It really is up to the community to put pressure so that our public servants respond.
We do need a current public consultation which covers honest questions and honest answers as opposed as the BS presentation made to council last week that really wasn’t challenged. After all, if you don’t ask the right questions you won’t get the right answers. And that begets the question as to why our Mayor and council refuse to ask those questions?
By far the most impressive speaker was Ms Manon Thompson who has worked in the past for both the hospital and CCH foundation. Ms Thompson actually crunched some numbers that illustrate the crisis that our area, rich with voters over the age of 65 will need place in the short future.
It has been the community who has built both hospitals. And it is money from your pockets that has kept these two hospitals alive and running.
Sadly CCH did not send a representative; nor did City Hall as they did a flash call budget meeting that precluded council from attending. Councilor Rivette, who spoke, did so as board member of the EOHU and had to leave to attend the budget meeting; a rare call for a Monday night.
Healthcare being something that is my personal issue of choice meant that I’m active in this crisis as well.
Again, it’s up to the public to stop this sale or to make sure that if a sale takes place that the facility ends up in some form of Community trust or entity that will allow it to continue to be used for Health Care in our community.
Mark answered some questions after the meeting.
The bottom line is that there is no clear solution at this point. The first step is ceasing the sale which we have created the following petition for until the community gets some clear answers and is consulted with. After all it’s the community that pays the price at the end of the day!
In the meanwhile here are a list of organizations that should play some role in finding a solution.
Cornwall City Council
United Counties of SD&G
Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
The Champlain LHIN
The Ontario Ministry of Health
Health Minister Deb Matthews
MPP Jim McDonell
Organizers of the Coalition will be creating print petitions as well.
You can also vote in our polls below and post your comments.