Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has supported the selection of 300 Pine Street as the future location of a new hospital in Bracebridge.
During a special board meeting, the Board approved the recommendation having followed an objective site selection process over the past year. Site selection is an important component of MAHC’s redevelopment project because the existing hospital property in Bracebridge on Ann Street is too small for future redevelopment of the hospital. In Huntsville, redevelopment of the hospital will be accommodated on the current land on Frank Miller Drive.
The Board’s site selection decision represents another significant milestone in the planning journey, explains Dave Uffelmann, vice chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Board’s Capital Redevelopment Steering Committee.
“After comprehensive study and evaluation of potential locations over the past year, the Board has concluded that the Pine Street location is the best long-term option for the future hospital in South Muskoka,” says Uffelmann. “The Pine Street location ensures proximity to downtown Bracebridge and Highway 11, as well as other nearby amenities including municipal transit that will serve our communities well. Additionally, environmental impacts are minimized and the Board is pleased with the process used to arrive at this decision.”
From more than 20 initial properties identified in the process, five met the minimum land requirements to be considered for evaluation and were presented during community information sessions earlier this year. The five sites were narrowed to three using robust evaluation criteria guided by community feedback reinforcing what is most important to choosing a new location for a hospital. For the past three months, extensive due diligence on two viable properties included cultural and heritage assessments, geotechnical and hydrogeological studies, cost estimates, and review of environmental features and potential wildlife impacts.
“The final two properties both had merits and challenges to understand and assess,” says Uffelmann, emphasizing the importance of taking the time required for in-depth analysis before the recommendation to Board. “This has been a thorough process and very thoughtful to the complexities of making the best decision for the future hospital location as a key piece of developing an integrated health system for all of Muskoka and area for the next 50 years.”
The Pine Street property is owned by the Town of Bracebridge, and the municipality is committed to working collaboratively with MAHC over the next several years on infrastructure matters such as water/sewer servicing requirements and road access to prepare the site for the future hospital.
“Access to health care is vital for the health and wellness of the community,” says Rick Maloney, Mayor of the Town of Bracebridge. “The Town of Bracebridge is pleased with the selection of 300 Pine Street as the site for the new hospital and is committed to working closely with our partners at MAHC over the coming years to help bring this important project to life. This location is strategically located in close proximity to the urban area of Bracebridge and Highway 11, is
serviced by public transit and emergency services, and will be seamlessly integrated into our existing infrastructure.”
The site selection decision will be part of the formal submission to the Ministry of Health. The study of the functional program piece will continue over the next few months with a target to complete the Stage 1.3 submission by the spring of 2024.
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