RM of Spy Hill pledges a second round of $600,000 towards hospital and care home

Recently, the Rural Municipality of Spy Hill pledged a second donation of $600,000 towards the hospital and care home project in Esterhazy. In this picture we see two cheques being displayed to signify the now $1.2 million dollars being donated by the RM.

In the picture:- Back row: Glenn Blakely – Councillor, and Don Hood. Front row: Don Bernath, Jack Neyedley – Councillor, Cheryl Odgers – Councillor, Bob Bruce – Reeve, Corrine Delmage – Councillor. Missing from picture is Marsha Sabo – Councillor.

A bigger vision for world-class healthcare in the Esterhazy District

By Kenneth James Kerr

On September 11, 2017, the 17th Annual Esterhazy & District Charity Golf Classic will take place at the Esterhazy golf course. The event is the major fundraiser for new healthcare facilities in the area, and its continuation each year is due to both the determination of a dedicated group of people who organize it, and the incredible support of the many companies, local authorities, and individuals who donate or pledge towards the building of a new hospital in Esterhazy.

For those visionaries who keep the dream alive, the journey has been characterized by both victories and disappointments. Every successful fundraising event is a victory, as is every positive meeting with a government representative. However, there are times when some disappointment is also experienced, when another year goes by without the hoped-for government announcement, or changes take place that alter the plans.

Recently, the Saskatchewan Minister of Health met with representatives of the St. Anthony’s Hospital Foundation, and representatives of the Charity Golf Classic to discuss the hospital project. The meeting was positive, but it clearly communicated two important realities that some people might see as disappointing. First, there is no government funding available for the project at this time, and second, for the project to move forward it must be a combined hospital and care home at the same time, which means it will be more expensive than originally expected.

So how should people respond to this news? There are two choices. Choice one is to get discouraged and give up. Yes, that is a choice, but what will the end result of that choice be? It would resign everything that has been done in the past to failure. Choice two is to acknowledge the situation, focus again on the dream, and be inspired to carry on.

Which choice do you think offers the better ultimate result?

Yes, it is going to take more money. The larger project requires a larger community contribution to move it forward. Right now, with donations and pledges combined, we stand at $8.8 million already committed to the project. (Already contributed donations are held by the St. Anthony’s Hospital Foundation and the Esterhazy Charity Golf, and are invested and gaining interest.) With the upcoming Golf Classic, it is anticipated the total will rise to $9 million. That’s staggering! However, with the larger project, the 20% share must now increase to $11 million.

How important is it to have this increased community contribution in place? Look at it this way. It’s the ticket to the dance. If we don’t have the 20% in place when government funding is actually available, Esterhazy won’t even get invited to the dance. However, with the 20% in place, we’re at the dance. It doesn’t mean we’ll be invited to take to the dance floor with the government (get guaranteed funding) in any specific year, but at least Esterhazy will be at the dance and eligible for taking the spotlight when the opportunity arises.

So what is the best way to inspire continued fundraising to attain a higher figure? It’s to get a clearer vision of what we’re really aiming for. It’s not just a hospital, it’s the bringing of world-class healthcare to Esterhazy and the surrounding region. That’s a bigger and more powerful dream, and it will give this region something even more valuable.

What does the dream of world-class healthcare look like?

  1. With an integrated hospital and care home, local seniors will have the facility, the staff, and the medical support, to live a quality life in their sunset years. When critical medical care is needed, they will already be in the right place at the right time.
  2. With an integrated hospital and care home, the local and district population will have everything they need to receive essential and periodic health care when it is needed.
  3. With an integrated hospital and care home, it will become easier to recruit new doctors to the area. Doctors are human too, and if they have a choice between working in a dilapidated building or working in a new state-of-the-art facility, where do you think they will gravitate to? Doctor retention is a key factor here. The same goes for nurses, continuing care assistants, and ancillary/support workers at every level.
  4. With an integrated hospital and care home, this district will be better equipped to handle any disaster, whether by natural causes, commercial incident, or traffic accident.
  5. With an integrated hospital and care home designed from the ground up, even such factors as a dedicated landing platform for STARS can be envisioned, as well as ambulance bays, and other essentials that are easily overlooked.

This is the real dream. It’s not just about a building, it’s about a quality of life for our parents, for our children and grandchildren, and for every soul in Esterhazy and the surrounding district. Is that a big enough dream to inspire continued fundraising? Is it a big enough dream to enable us to overcome momentary disappointments? Yes, it is.

The Town of Esterhazy knows it, and they pledged an additional million dollars to the project! The RM of Spy Hill knows it too, they pledged a second round of $600.000 just recently. But now the call must go out to all other local municipalities, and corporations, and service groups, and individuals.

Yes, the Golf Classic is coming up, and while they don’t need any more golfers, they do need more financial donations and pledges. These are the people to contact to make that happen…

Jerry Halyk – (306) 745 2136. Heather MacDonald Maga – (306) 745 2404. Gerald (Chip) Bernath – (306) 745 6510, (306) 740 9252. Ed Zimmer – (306) 745 6249.

But, it’s going to take more than the Golf Classic to get the 20% in place. We’ve got to begin thinking outside the box. Will a private investor step up and help? Who do you know in the world of entertainment, or sport who would be altruistic enough to pledge their financial support out of their deep pockets? Are there any “local man or woman makes it big” people out there who originally hailed from this area? What ideas can we come up with? What avenues have not been considered? A bigger dream can stimulate incredible creativity if we put our individual and collective minds to it.

If you have ideas, contacts, etc, please get in touch with Don Hood – (306) 745 6100, (306) 740 7035, or Don Bernath – (306) 793 2008, (306) 740 9975.

The Esterhazy district plays an essential role in the provincial economy. It’s an important place, and that’s why it is still growing with new subdivisions, still attracting new businesses, and still building new community amenities. These are tangible evidences of the ability to dream. And, the people of this area must never lose sight of the dream, the vision, and the goal of world-class healthcare.

We can make this happen!