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BGH gets extra provincial funding for infrastructure upgrades, repairs

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Another $5.25 million in funding from the provincial Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund will help cover costs related to a sinkhole in a roundabout at Brantford General Hospital.  

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The sinkhole, about three-feet wide and eight-feet deep, developed last September in a utility tunnel which runs underneath an area leading to the D-wing entrance. Electrical, water and oxygen lines run through the tunnel to that area of the hospital.  

Erin Sleeth, interim president and CEO of the Brant Community Healthcare System, said the funding, announced at the hospital on Friday by Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma, will cover costs incurred to bring in equipment such as temporary generators and boilers to keep things running.  

“The (utility tunnel) is the heart of our infrastructure,” said Sleeth. “It keeps the water hot, the air circulating, the lights on, and the temperature comfortable.” 

Repairs to the tunnel are expected to begin next month, said Sleeth, and take about three months to complete.  

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The emergency funding is in addition to about $1.9 million which had already been allotted to the hospital through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund.  

That money, said Sleeth, will be used for improvements, including modern elevators, repair work to deteriorating piping, upgraded fire alarms and loading dock repairs.  

“Our government’s commitment to quality public health care delivery will continue as I maintain strong advocacy for a new or redeveloped Brantford General Hospital,” said Bouma to a group gathered in the hospital cafeteria for the funding announcement.  

Brantford’s growing population is putting pressure on the aging hospital. In March 2022, Premier Doug Ford visited Brantford General to announce $2.5 million to kick-start the planning for a new facility. But that’s just the first step of a lengthy process expected to take years.  

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“With significant growth in our region, it’s imperative that our facilities continue to be properly maintained while we continue to work with the Ministry of Health to advance our hospital redevelopment project,” Peter Quinlan, chair of the Brant Community Healthcare System board of directors, said on Friday.  

A staff member at the announcement commented on the inadequacy of the facility and said employees are “feeling it in every department.” She asked Bouma when they could expect a new hospital.  

“We needed a new hospital five years ago, probably 10 years ago,” said Bouma. “These are long, slow projects. I’m advocating fiercely for this hospital and community. We’re doing everything possible.” 

 

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