The proposed rehabilitation of the Water Street bridge will not happen this year due to a change in plans. Acting Town CAO Bruce Grant told Council on Tuesday evening that a Federal Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program has been set up with funds available for eligible projects, such as the Water Street bridge. Grant said that the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario has opened a call for applications and that the program will contribute $44.4 million for these projects. The applications have to be submitted before a June 9 deadline and the grant will cover 1/3 of the cost, which in the case of the bridge is $196K (1/3 of $588K). Because it is not known when the Town will be notified if they are successful in their application, the present plans for the rehabilitation has been postponed and will likely not start until springtime next year.
Doug Holliday, Pat Craigmile and Krista Linklater made a presentation to Council on behalf of the St. Marys Memorial Hospital Foundation. After outlining past accomplishments the group said they have a $5 million capital campaign under way. The goals are to update facilities and equipment while updating technology. The catchment area for the emergency goes well beyond St. Marys and in a survey covering a year, there were a total of 9,128 with 3,673 from St. Marys. Of these visits 32% are between the ages of 19 – 44 and 60 % are from outside St. Marys. For the same period there were 392 in-patients of which 42% were over 80 years of age and 40% of the total were from outside the St. Marys area. To enhance both the Hospital and the Wellness Centre, the Foundation is seeking $300K over three years from the Town, or $100K per year. Future plans envision having between 9 – 12 doctors, a teaching facility and a mental health program.