BARRY’S BAY – The regular council meeting of January 21 began with Mayor David Shulist welcoming everyone in attendance.
“When we see public participation it’s a good practice of democracy and everybody has a voice…so I am really very glad that you’re here,” Shulist said.
He went on to apologize to the residents who stood out in the cold during the last council meeting, which took place on January 7.
REQUEST BY SFMHF
Representatives of the St. Francis Memorial Hospital Foundation (SFMHF) were in attendance to request monies from the township for the Family helping Family Campaign.
As this was considered to be a special situation, and whereas an organization was the delegation, four persons were allowed to present to council.
Gerard O’Malley spoke first on behalf of SFMHF, as honorary chairperson.
O’Malley said he realized how important it is to have a hospital in his own backyard, as a result of his accident which occurred in 1984. He said that is when he found out firsthand that immediate emergency services, and later continued long-term care service would make a big difference in his life.
“While recovering in Ottawa it was my community and leaders, just like the ones sitting around the table like this, [who]made a promise to do whatever was needed to get me back home and keep me here. St. Francis Memorial Hospital itself was involved in this effort and it was because the hospital is here and accessible to me that I’ve been able to lead a very fulfilling life in my home community,” O’Malley said, adding that he wants to give back to the hospital and community that has always been there for him.
The floor was then turned over to John Hildebrandt, who also shared his personal experiences and stories, with respect to the hospital.
“The quick and professional response is the secret to saving lives. St. Francis and their staff excel at this,” Hildebrandt stated.
“While St. Francis is located in Barry’s Bay, the families using this facility extend outwards in every direction,” he said. “I would like to think that St. Francis serves a family of communities and is all about people, whoever you are and wherever you live. You are treated with the same kindness and respect that sincere professional dedication that makes St. Francis a unique and respected facility that it is – a history of caring.”
“For over 50 years the St. Francis Memorial Hospital has been, and continues to be, the pride of the Valley with a proven track record of providing excellent patient centered service. Without St. Francis the future of our area would look pretty grim. Because we share it together we must support it together,” he added.
Darlene Sernoskie, chair of the foundation board, then presented to council, wherein she referred to a depiction of the mileage from the hospital to other health care centres, which was shown to council on the overhead projector.
“This is what makes the hospital unique, what makes Barry’s Bay unique [from] the rest of Ontario. In fact this is the only isolated hospital – independent hospital – in southern Ontario. But when you look at those distances you see why we can’t do without a hospital here. It really does mean lives. If you didn’t have an emergency [department] and had to drive those distances we would have big problems and you may not survive it,” Sernoskie said.
“We know we need an emergency department but you can’t run [the] emergency [department] without a lab and without an X-ray. But all of these services take equipment and equipment wears out just like your car. And sometimes it’s not only worn out, but the company you bought it from…don’t provide parts anymore, they don’t provide service. So, we need the equipment and that’s what the foundation is trying to do. But you probably may not have known, because people are usually surprised to find out, that the government does not provide funding for this equipment. And it’s expensive,” she indicated, adding that the government expects the community to come up with the funding.
Next, council heard from Brent Dalgleish.
“As you may be aware this campaign of Family helping Family, we have set the goal of $1.2 million to raise over five years and the campaign is doing well, so we’re not here tonight to ask of you the full $1.2 million, but the next slide shows us where the $1.2 will be allocated.”
He then went on to point out how the money would be allocated, with 85 per cent going to emergency services.
“In addition to this, the foundation has made a commitment to fund our new mammography machine for $400,000 over the next four years. So, actually this is like a $1.6 million campaign that we are undertaking, and the purchase of that machine was critical to keep that particular program in this area.”
Story continues in the January 23, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.