Hundreds of Weyburnites gathered at Crescent Point Place this afternoon to hear an announcement from Crescent Point Energy CEO Scott Saxberg concerning the Weyburn and District Hospital Foundation.
"We're really proud to announce our donation of $4.5 million dollars to the Weyburn and District Hospital Foundation."
The donation puts the fundraising organization over it's goal of $20 million meaning it has now raised the projected 20 per cent of total funds needed to build a new hospital. The province established the 20 per cent fundraising goal as a milestone every community must meet before they will begin to plan for new hospitals. More than two-thirds of the province's hospitals were built before 1970, making community fundraising effort an important part of building new ones in Saskatchewan. Mal Barber, Chair of WDHF, said the organization was in talks with Crescent Point Energy beginning in late 2013 and knew a donation was coming but was pleasantly surprised by the amount.
"We've had support from local clubs, from small business, big business, families, memoriams, levels of government, the city, municipalities. We're just so thankful that everybody's come on board, and we just feel we have the support of most of the people in our area." Still, Barber added that more money will likely need to be raised as building costs increase over time.
City Councilor and acting mayor Nancy Styles used to work as an ER nurse and said the donation brings the city one step closer to getting the hospital it needs. She expressed gratitude for Crescent Point Energy and their help putting the WDHF over the top and to everybody else who has donated to the organization and Weyburn's health facilities over the years. She noted many of the Cugnets who have donated equipment and money to keep Weyburn's current hospital functioning and serving its patients better also.
"What it will mean is a new hospital. It will mean a private area for you to interview your patient. What it will mean is you will have trauma areas that are set up for each and every patient. That you will have things like in the big hospitals, where you have a decontamination area at the back door," Styles said after the announcement.
Still, even though Weyburn has now reached its fundraising goal of $20 million, the government isn't about to break ground on the new facility. Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA and Health Minister Dustin Duncan said he was so grateful to Crescent Point Energy for their donation of $4.5 million and everything else they have donated to the community, including funding Crescent Point Place and donating to the new Cugnet Centre, but that they still have to work through the process of planning for the new hospital and that it can take quite a while.
"We're starting to all make our submissions to the treasury board, and it's a several month long process to get there," Duncan said when asked about a timeline for funding from the provincial government.
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