The Council discussed and approved the funding for 10 percent of the total cost of $1 billion for the second phase of the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) redevelopment project. This came after over 10 hours of city council meetings this week.
According to the motion passed, the City staff would include a separate hospital levy on the annual property tax billing beginning with the 2022 taxation year. This would amount to funding the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation over $25 million over the next ten years. It is understood that the resulting 2022 tax increase for municipal purposes would be approximately 2.1%, and that the tax increase for hospital levy purposes would be around 1.0%.
Councillor Bridget Doherty shared her concerns about the importance of the hospital redevelopment. According to the province’s funding requirement, if the municipal government does not put in the 10 percent of the total, the province would not provide the remaining 90 percent, which means the project will not go ahead.
“So for all of these reasons even though we’re frustrated these are not our responsibilities these are not the responsibilities of the municipal taxpayer we have some serious decisions to make and these decisions if you don’t support them will have serious consequences so whether we like it or not,” Councilor Doherty said.
“I reluctantly support all of them because that’s the right thing to do,” added Doherty.
Last week, Mayor Bryan Paterson also put forward a community input request while reiterating the importance of the hospital redevelopment. He said that much of the current building facilities are outdated, too small, and need renewal.
He also explained that to address current and future needs, the provincial government has agreed to fund a significant redevelopment of the hospital, which could cost as much as $1B. A condition of the funding is that a 10% share of the money has to be raised locally before the province will fund the remaining 90% of the project.
“Because the overall hospital redevelopment is such a big project, that 10% share means a lot of local money needs to be raised,” he said.
Locally the group in charge of fundraising is UHKF and has also asked the City to contribute $25 million towards the local share.
In addition, the Council also approved funds of up to $250,000 per year for three years for the Integrated Care Hub. However, an amendment was made to have third party review conducted to assess whether the Integrated Care Hub (ICH) is properly and effectively fulfilling its mandate; and assessment of the collateral impacts of the ICH operation on the neighborhood, local residents and businesses, and the City in terms of costs, disruptions and security related to police, fire, first responders, garbage and waste clean-up, and Belle Park use and condition.
The staff will report back with recommendations by the last Council meeting in February 2022. The funding of $250,000 per year for eight years for family physician recruitment was also approved.