Mayor Bob Sanderson on Long-Term Care and 65 Ward St

Council’s vote on Reconsideration of the former Port Hospital at 65 Ward St

At the last council meeting the motion brought forward by councillor Hickey requesting council to reconsider the intent to designate was defeated. A two thirds majority vote was necessary (5 members of council) to pass.

As Mayor, I voted against the reconsideration for very specific reasons. Although my vote was not a deciding vote I have received input both in support and against. I would like to explain the reasons for my vote.

My vote was in support of LTC (Long Term Care)

I am strongly in support of maintaining and expanding our Long Term Care (LTC) facilities in Port Hope. I am also very supportive of Southbridge and their proposal to upgrade their current facilities and the municipality is prepared to work diligently in support of them to do so.

My vote was in support of our Heritage and of 65 Ward St – Port Hope’s former Hospital I am also very supportive of maintaining our heritage including structures. I have personally had 3 properties designated and have independently restored one of the most significant buildings that was considered beyond salvation – “The Little Bluestone House”.

Isn’t it a contradictory statement to say you are supportive of both?

NO – it is not a contradictory statement. I believe we do not need to choose one over the other.

I believe that by working together now that the inappropriate emotional negotiations are at a stalemate that the way is now clear for us to try for a win-win solution going forward. As I clearly stated in the council meeting, Southbridge will continue to care for the residents as well as they have done to date.

Even if a green light to develop and destroy the old hospital was given to Southbridge now, the proposed new facility will take 2 ½ years (as stated by Southbridge).

So let’s be clear, long term care is not in immediate jeopardy in any way whereas the historic “Old” Hospital would be in immediate jeopardy if the reconsideration motion had passed.

Going forward we need to take a business like and rational approach to supporting Southbridge request to upgrade their facility in Port Hope and we need to work together with them to explore all options. Options include looking at every option including different designs for the current site and considering alternate locations. This process is essential to making the correct decision before we rashly lose such a significant building. Losing the building may occur and if that is the final outcome, at least make sure we have done our due diligence and it is the “last” option.

It is now time to roll up our sleeves and work with Southbridge in a business like fashion and put the emotional arguments to the side. The emotional positioning of both parties has caused undue anxiety to the residents and staff of Hope Terrace and the residents of Port Hope and that is something I feel was inappropriate and it must stop.

The “motion to reconsider”

I believe that bringing forward a motion to reconsider on such an important and emotional issue when you absolutely know do not have the support of council was a disservice to everyone in this community but especially to the staff and residents of the long term care. It could appear that bringing the motion forward knowing it would not be supported was politically motivated for personal political gain with no regard for the consequences to others. That is neither leadership no governance.

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