Well is dry, municipal leaders to tell health department

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO - There will be no more municipal funding forthcoming for the new Truro-area hospital, local officials say.
"No more, that's enough," Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor said yesterday, regarding the $7 million the municipality has committed to the project.
"I don't know of any other community that had to raise that kind of money," he said, of the $26 plus million raised throughout the Truro/Colchester area for the
"Our community's done it willingly but, enough's enough. We just can't justify any more."
Colchester County council voted against any further funding during an in-camera session following the regular meeting Thursday night.
Taylor revealed the decision after being contacted by the Truro Daily News on Friday.
Local municipalities had recently been approached by officials from the Colchester East Hants Health Authority about the prospect of committing further funding to deal with a $25-million shortfall regarding the mechanical and electrical components of the new hospital. That shortfall brings the project's estimated cost to about $180 million.
Taylor said with other funding commitments, such as the $5-million contribution the county will be making to a new regional civic centre, Colchester has simply given all it can.
"There's certainly no appetite for us, for the amount of money that this community, not just the municipalities, but what the whole community has raised for this project, is unreal. It's not a municipal responsibility to start with. I don't think it's fair for the minister (of Health), or whoever, to say get some more out of the community."
Truro Mayor Bill Mills agrees.
"We have no more money to give," he said. "We're just maxed out ... to raise $26 million for a community of this size is a pretty incredible feat."
Although Truro council is not expected to formally discuss the issue until its March 1 meeting, Mills said he is confident his fellow councillors are of the same mind.
"Our council's been very aggressive with projects in town and basically we don't have much more room to move," he said.
Health authority CEO Peter MacKinnon said he was "not totally surprised" to hear of the county's decision, given the community's current contribution. But he said the money will still have to come from somewhere to see the project to completion.
"From my standpoint, this is a joint responsibility. It's been that way from the beginning and the solution to making sure the project gets finished, we have to look at it that in the same joint manner ...
"I think that's maybe the bottom line for me. We're trying to work to the best of all our abilities to achieve the goal."
Contacted late Friday afternoon, Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said she had yet to receive the county's news officially. But she said it certainly won't make the job of raising the shortfall funding any easier without additional municipal support.
"Twenty four million dollars is a significant chunk of change," she said. "It still poses a significant


Organizations: Colchester County council, Truro Daily News, Colchester East Hants Health Authority Truro council

Geographic location: Colchester County

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