Provincial Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton addresses a crowd at CHKA Wallaceburg site to announce a $500,000 grant to upgrade the facility. February 22, 2019. (Photo by Greg Higgins)

Wallaceburg Hospital getting $500K boost from Ontario

The Sydenham District Hospital will look a lot different in 15 years after getting a provincial grant to “modernize” the facility.

Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton made the announcement during a press conference at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s Wallaceburg Facility Friday morning. According to the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP, the $500,000 will go towards remodelling the ageing facility which was at risk of closing over a decade ago.

“I was here nearly 14 years ago rallying with thousands of people on the streets of Wallaceburg to save the Sydenham hospital,” McNaughton said. “To be back 14 years later, standing with members of the community to announce our government’s commitment to redevelopment and revitalization of this hospital means a lot to me personally and to the families here.”

McNaughton said the grant will go towards upgrades to emergency, ambulatory and outpatient services. The MPP added residents made their voices loud and clear that the Wallaceburg facility should be a priority and this is the first step in cementing its future for decades.

The grant comes from the provincial governments Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund, which is splitting $175 million between 128 hospitals across the province.

“This sends a clear signal to the people of Wallaceburg and the CKHA that our government is committed to this rural hospital and the importance of rural health care right across the province,” McNaughton said. “We are going to begin the process of planning for the expansion and redevelopment of this hospital.”

The MPP added there is no set date for when construction will begin but he hopes to return soon and make that announcement.

According to Lori Marshall, the president and CEO of the CKHA, Sydenham provides health services for not only Wallaceburg but Walpole Island First Nation and surrounding areas.

The plan for the facility is to add a new emergency room with five inpatient beds, a radiology lab and dialysis services.