Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison is making his stance on the future of healthcare clear. During this week’s council meeting, Aitchison encouraged Muskokans to attend a public meeting on Thursday to have their opinions heard about whether or not Muskoka will keep its two current hospital sites.

When it comes to his own opinion, Aitchison says a single-site is not acceptable.

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare’s Capital Plan Development Task Force has been looking at three options for the future; the first option is keeping the two hospital sites, the second is moving to a single hospital site to service all of Muskoka. The third option would keep both sites, but designate inpatient and outpatient services at each location.

MAHC officials spoke to the District of Muskoka last month to request cash be put aside sooner than later to go into the healthcare redevelopment. There was speculation online around that presentation, as some community members wondered if it meant MAHC had already decided on a single-site hospital.

However, Aitchison says that’s not true and the board was only pointing out that the district should start putting away cash now for when redevelopment starts, which could be in the next 15 to 20 years. And, he says he doesn’t disagree with that plan.

When it comes to the public meeting, Aitchison says it’s important for the community to be heard. He says community support isn’t just one of the tools used to rank the different options, it’s the deal breaker. He says without that support, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care won’t move forward.

Tomorrow’s meeting gets underway at 5:00pm at the District of Muskoka Council Chambers in Bracebridge. You can also follow along at home with the webcast. More details on the public consultation process are also on the MAHC website.

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