JOHN ROBBINS/Bullet News
The head of Ontario’s official opposition has become the first provincial leader to endorse a plan to build a new Niagara South hospital.
During a stop in Niagara Falls on Wednesday, Hudak told Bullet News the recommendation by provincially appointed hospital supervisor Kevin Smith first unveiled last spring makes a lot of sense.
And he credits Niagara Falls Progressive Conservative candidate Bart Maves for having the foresight to see the way ahead as much as five years ago.
“Bart Maves was way ahead of the curve on this one,” said Hudak.
“(It was) back in 2007 that he said that we should move in this direction and I agree.”
Smith’s plan calls for the construction of a new, modern hospital in south Niagara to replace aging facilities in Niagara Falls, Welland, Fort Erie and Port Colborne.
Although Smith was appointed by the Liberal government to sort out a myriad of problems at the NHS, Smith’s proposal to build a new hospital has yet to be endorsed by the government.
Niagara Falls Liberal MPP Kim Craitor supports the plan and has raised the issue with incoming premier Kathleen Wynne, who will be sworn in on Feb. 19.
Ontario’s New Democrats have been skeptical about the proposal, raising issues about the potential for reduced access.
But Hudak said he wants residents of south Niagara to have the best care possible and a new hospital is the right prescription.
“I want to make sure we have the most modern facilities with the best health-care treatment possible to give folks in south Niagara the top-notch health care they deserve,” said Hudak.
“And quite frankly, I think we should build new hospitals instead of holding on to old ones that were built 60, 70 years ago. That’s where health-care is going and Niagara deserves their share of that in south Niagara.”