This Saturday residents in the Kingston area will get a chance to have their say on whether the planned new psychiatric/rehab hospital will be entirely public.
While the vote is non-binding, a large turnout by those wishing to keep their hospital public will send a clear message to Queen’s Park.
The Ontario government is planning to replace St. Mary’s Of The Lake and Providence Care (formerly the Kingston Psychiatric Hospital) with a new public-private partnership hospital (P3). The proposal is for a 30-year contact with a private for-profit consortium that will include the design, build, financing and maintenance of the hospital.
It is the last two – 30-year financing and maintenance – that are the problem.
Corporations pay a much higher interest to borrow money, substantially raising the public cost of the hospital. Thirty-year maintenance gives the hospital less flexibility during tight economic times. That means the hospital is not in a position, for example, to put off new carpets for a year in order to keep a clinic open. Instead the clinic closes, and new carpets arrive.
A 30-year P3 contract also makes it far more difficult to adapt the building to emerging new technologies and transaction costs around the deal are enormous.
It is important that Kingston and area residents get out and vote. A limited number of advance polls are open tomorrow. 53 polling stations will be set up on Saturday, most in Kingston. However, there will be polls in the surrounding area, including Sharbot Lake, Ganonoque, Harrowsmith, Sydenham, and Amherstview.
If you would like to volunteer to assist with polls or to help get citizens to the polls, please contact the campaign office by clicking here.