Bracebridge’s general committee has officially signed off on $10 million towards the estimated $967 million price tag of two new hospitals for Muskoka.
Bracebridge councillors made the decision during their meeting Tuesday morning. They agreed to pay up to $10 million as of July 1, 2037, consisting of a combined value of funds, land or in-kind goods or services, towards the local share cost of developing two new hospitals in Muskoka, one in Bracebridge and one in Huntsville.
Mayor Rick Maloney pointed out that the money is, “not upfront on the taxpayer,” and will be paid back over a number of years.
“This is not just on residents of today but residents of the future,” he said.
Coun. Don Smith pointed out that while Bracebridge’s share will not be paid in full until 2037, construction of the new hospital is slated for 2029.
CAO Stephen Rettie said the figures and timelines come from a great deal of research and discussion done between all of the local municipalities and the hospital foundation, and the timelines are based on alignments between the shareholders.
On June 27, 2023, the Town waived the secondary due diligence condition in accordance with the Offer to Purchase, dated June 20, 2017, with Fowler Construction Limited, to purchase the land at 300 Pine Street for $1.3 million. The property is one of the locations that MAHC has identified as a potential site for the new hospital in Bracebridge. However, MAHC has said their current preference is the 1975 Muskoka Beach Road site.
Rettie said if MAHC does not select 300 Pine Street, the property would still hold significant value.
In December 2022, MAHC announced an updated preliminary order of magnitude cost estimate for the two hospitals of $967 million. Based on this estimate, the local share would be approximately $225 million.
So far, the Town of Huntsville has articulated a direct contribution target of $10 million. The Town of Gravenhurst approved a funding commitment of $1 million to improved healthcare, including any necessary contributions to the local share of MAHC’s two-hospital model of care, on August 15, 2023. Several other municipalities in East Parry Sound have also made local share commitments, totalling $9.5 million.
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