The technical information was helpful but the complexity and volume of it has caused a delay in deciding where a health services hub for Quinte West will be held.
The Southeast Local Health Integration had decided that the hub would be built where the Belleville Quinte West Community Health Centre now sits, on Murphy Street in downtown Trenton, because of contaminated soil on the Trenton Memorial Hospital site.
However, citizens’ group OurTMH, the Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation and Quinte West council have been pushing for the hub to be built in what had been the preferred location, near Trenton Memorial Hospital.
After the announcement of the decision to build downtown, the mayor of Quinte West Jim Harrison asked for and received a meeting with Southeast LHIN CEO Paul Huras.
That meeting occurred Thursday.
Consultants who’d done testing on the property were at the meeting and CEO Huras was glad they were.
“When I first looked at the long and complex consultants’ report on the property I, as a layman, didn’t understand it. I caught some main points but wasn’t able to understand the whole picture. I know more now than I did, but I’m not ready to make a decision yet. I still have questions to get answered”.
Huras did say that the hospital property didn’t pose as big a risk as he initially thought.
Brad Harrington, Vice-President of Quinte Health Care, said the consultants’ report showed that the groundwater
on the TMH site was clean, that any contamination on the hub property was not migrating anywhere else and that there was no risk to human health .
Mayor of Quinte West Jim Harrison agreed with Huras that there was a lot of detail and complexity involved, and that he too had questions that needed answering.
“No matter what, there are no losers in this situation. Downtown or by the hospital, we’re going to have a health hub providing people with the medical services they need. However, I’d really prefer that the hub go to the hospital property.”
The mayor praised the consultants’ work in pinpointing exactly where the contamination was. “We’ll (the city) work with you to get that property cleaned up. We have experience in remediating soil, and we think we might be able to handle the soil from the property at the Frankford landfill.”
Mayor Harrison said, if necessary, the city could provide equipment and labour to move contaminated soil out and bring good soil in if need be, substantially cutting the cost of remediation, which has been estimated at $760,000.
CEO Huras said that with clarification from consultants he now believes that figure to be on the high side for a property cleanup.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Belleville Quinte West Community Health Centre, Sheila Braidek, said she understood the need for a bit more study, but stressed that she and her board of directors believe the downtown location to be the best for a primary care organization.
The chair of the BQCHC board, Allan Mathany, said they’ve always been in favour of a health hub, but they need action now. “We’re trying to serve patients out of a few trailers stuck together”.
CEO Huras said the LHIN and everyone involved wanted to get moving ASAP and that a decision would come soon, likely next week.