By Bob Hutcheson
The residents of Parry Sound-Muskoka have been fortunate in electing the Conservative Party over the years. They have rewarded us in Huntsville alone with our current hospital, our new Fairvern Nursing Home and expansion to 160 beds, as well as a full-service, acute-care hospital in Huntsville plus one in Bracebridge. Graydon Smith was very helpful in getting us the new Fairvern and the new hospital improvements. Conservatives have also provided us with the Summit Centre and all of its expanded facilities.
They addressed long-standing funding shortfalls to small- and medium-sized hospitals including both MAHC (Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare and WPSHC (West Parry Sound Health Centre) after lobbying by Norm Miller and other rural caucus members.
They provided $4.1 million in Build Back Better funding after floods in our region, to build more resilient roads, bridges, culverts, etc.; $6.7 million in social services relief funding during the pandemic; and provided funding for municipal modernization projects like e-permitting systems. They launched community paramedicine programs in both Muskoka and Parry Sound Districts – $3.25 M in Muskoka, $2.9 M in Parry Sound.
The Conservatives ensured numerous investments in community and recreational centres including $23 million in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) toward the Parry Sound Pool and Wellness Centre, $16 million in provincial funding toward the Bracebridge Multiuse Centre and $500,000 toward, arena upgrades in both Baysville and SSJ arenas, as well as in dozens of smaller projects.
They increased funding to long-term care facilities to hire more staff to start to bring care up to four hours per resident per day – $8.4 million more in annualized funding for long-term care facilities in Parry Sound-Muskoka, and to help fill those positions – opened up accelerated, free tuition PSW training spaces at Georgian College, including at their Bracebridge campus
Other infrastructure investments were made as in water projects, such as $1.5M to the South River Watermain and Lift Pump project, $1.6M to the Bracebridge water supply resiliency project and $900,000 to the Shawanaga Water Treatment Plant, plus investments in roads and bridges such as the Black Bridge in Bracebridge and in transit projects like the Huntsville Ridership Growth Plan. $6 million was dedicated to Broadband projects across the riding plus funding for a larger a project that covers parts of South Muskoka as well as Simcoe County. $5 Million was invested in the Parry Sound Airport to expand the runway and bring more business to that area.
The Conservatives have committed to bringing passenger rail back to northeastern Ontario including Muskoka, and have invested $5 million into projects to protect the Muskoka River Watershed – projects suggested by the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group
Our PC government is also implementing product stewardship making the producers of packaging and waste responsible for the costs of its recycling or disposal. This will take the costs of the blue box program off the backs of municipalities and should encourage producers to use less packaging.
It is under the Government of another Party that we lost grants, because we our region was taken out of “Northern Ontario”.
By electing Graydon Smith we will be assured that Parry Sound-Muskoka will have a strong and effective voice within the next government. This is especially important now, because it is this PC government that to give us two new hospitals in Muskoka. The last thing we want to do is to lose that.
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