(Chris Rayfield, president of the Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant, with Mayor Kevin Davis and chamber CEO David Prang at the Mayor’s Breakfast presentation held at the Brantford Golf and County Club on Wednesday, June 26. PHOTO BY VINCENT BALL /Brantford Expositor)

Everyone needs to do their bit to make sure Brantford gets the new hospital it needs and deserves, the city’s mayor says.

“It’s incumbent upon us, as a community, to come together in support of the vision the hospital is putting forward and help not criticize them,” Mayor Kevin Davis said. “We need to pull together in that classic Brantford spirit to make this happen.

“We have to do this together.”

Bickering about location and who is going to pay what has to be set aside, the mayor said.

Davis said the province has a list of communities that want a new hospital. Those communities who show that they’re ready, unified and share a common vision for their hospital are the ones most likely to get provincial support.

“If the province sees us divided, bickering about where the hospital should be and who’s going to pay, we (Brantford Brant) will fall of the list,” Davis said. “If we continue to bicker in this community about what the vision for the hospital is, guess what, it will be 20 years from now and we’ll still be asking for a hospital.”

Davis made the comments at the Mayor’s Breakfast, Chamber of Commerce Brantford Brant at the Brantford Golf and Country Club on Wednesday. The event, which attracted 130 people, was held in collaboration with the City of Brantford. The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie was a management partner.

Davis said the city has put $15 million into a reserve fund set up 14 months ago to help cover its share of the costs.

The city plans to contribute to the hospital fund in future years with the goal of having between $45 million to $50 million when the money for the hospital is needed. The balance of the anticipated $100 million contribution will come from debentures.

Davis said plans call for the new hospital to be built on the other side of Terrace Hill Street across from the existing hospital. The existing building will be torn down and the space will be used for parking and possibly some offices.

The status of D Wing, the newest section of the hospital, hasn’t been decided.

The plan outlined by Davis is a proposal not yet approved by the provincial government.

Less than 18 hours earlier, Davis and city council heard from Bonnie Camm, president and CEO of the Brant Community Healthcare System, which operates Brantford General Hospital and the Willett Urgent Care Centre in Paris. Camm was accompanied by representatives of the healthcare system board and healthcare system foundation.

Camm told council that the healthcare system had requested a greenfield or new site for the new hospital multiple times.

That request has been turned down by the provincial Ministry of Health three times since 2010. Officials have been advised to redevelop Brantford General on the existing site.

A specific cost hasn’t been determined but it will be in the billions of dollars, Camm said.

The redeveloped Brantford General would be a single building covering about 1.4 million-square-feet. The Willett would be a secondary new or a rebuild of the existing site as an urgent care/ambulatory site covering just under 80,000-square-feet.

Meanwhile, healthcare officials also need to submit an alternative facility development plan by Aug. 2024, Camm told councillors.

The alternative plan is needed due to a number of factors including the availability of contractors able to do large scale projects and labour shortages.

Healthcare system officials are hoping the project will be included in the province’s 2025 budget. If that happens a new hospital could be built by 2035.

David Prang, the chamber’s CEO, said the chamber was pleased to present the mayor’s breakfast as part of its advocacy events series.

“Providing the business community with networking and engagement opportunities with elected officials and their peers are key parts of the essential work of the chamber,” Prang said.

Read the article by the Brantford Expositor