County of Lambton building in Wyoming. (BlackburnNews.com File Photo by Briana Carnegie)

Six Organizations Seek County Funds

The new CEO of Sarnia-Lambton’s Economic Partnership [SLEP] wants to restore historical staffing levels, to focus on strategic priorities.

Stephen Thompson told county council Wednesday that a lack of resources has led to communication challenges and barriers, so they’re seeking $300,000 from the county to refill two existing board-approved staff positions.

Mayor Mike Bradley says the organization is being repositioned and this will help accelerate that.

“The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining,” says Bradley. “We have major developments happening on the TransAlta site, we have NOVA happening, this is the time to become super aggressive on economic development.”

The Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital (SMGH) Foundation has asked the county for $1.05-million, paid over ten years, to acquire a new x-ray suite for diagnostic imaging.

Board Chair Janet Grantham says they’ve had an 18% increase in overall cases involving Lambton County residents in the past two years, taking in 14,000 clinical cases from April 2016 to March 2017 alone.

She says the most consistent users are from Lambton Shores, Warwick and Brooke-Alvinston.

Dawn-Euphemia Mayor Alan Broad believes supporting the request is the neighbourly thing to do.

“Hospitals today, they’re all picking one or two specializations that they’re involved in,” says Broad. “It all requires special equipment. We don’t go to hospitals under our postal code, they’re universal, we’re able to go around to numerous hospitals and we have lots of doctors recommending us to hospitals outside of our municipalities.”

But, Broad also recognizes a funding crisis in Ontario’s hospital system and has asked staff to start developing a plan to help the county manage future funding requests from area hospitals.

Also requesting funding in the County of Lambton 2018 budget:

  • Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, $35,000 to cover increased rent and utility costs.
  • Community Living Sarnia-Lambton, $49,000 to purchase a van with a side-access or rear entry wheelchair ramp.
  • Sarnia-Lambton Crime Stoppers, $13,000 to pay a part-time employee.
  • The Deker Bauer Foundation for Suicide Prevention, $80,674 for staff wages.

All of the funding requests were deferred to County of Lambton Budget deliberations, which will be at 9am March 7 in Wyoming.