Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Graydon Smith says he’s already started advocating to give Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) more time for its hospital redevelopment project.
“We have been presented with a historic and unprecedented commitment by the government and premier to redevelop the two hospital sites in both Bracebridge and Huntsville,” says Smith in a Feb. 9 statement. “It is our collective expectation that this happens. Both towns are deserving of two new hospitals. I am confident that a more balanced and equitable plan can be achieved.”
The statement from Smith came only an hour after MAHC announced a second meeting would be held in Bracebridge to discuss its proposed “Made-in-Muskoka healthcare system.”
“This process must be centered on engaging with the community and having meaningful dialogue with doctors and nurses to develop a new plan that is satisfactory for all,” continues Smith. “In the meantime, I will be working tirelessly on your behalf to ensure the development of not only two great new hospitals, but a strong Parry Sound-Muskoka we can all be proud of.”
Smith attended the meetings in Bracebridge, Huntsville, and Burk’s Falls and says he sent his staff members to attend the meetings in Gravenhurst, Dwight, and Port Carling.
While healthcare is not a federal responsibility, Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison has an interesting history with this project. He, along with Smith, were mayors of Huntsville and Bracebridge, respectively, when MAHC discussed a one-hospital model in 2015.
Aitchison hasn’t attended any of the meetings in person but did send a statement to the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom, attributed to Parker Varnai, his office’s manager of parliamentary affairs.
“Scott is grateful that the current discussion about the redevelopment of MAHC is about one hospital with a full-service, acute-care emergency room in two locations, not where a single site will be located,” the statement reads. “Like everyone, Scott is paying attention to the consultations and looks forward to hearing all perspectives on the proposals presented by MAHC.”