03/05/2012Vaughan health care group strikes back at MPP Sorbara1/3ontariocfa.com/2011/06/30/vaughan-health-care-group-strikes-back-at-mpp-sorbara/
Vaughan MPP Greg Sorbara is calling on the city to take back control of the land it has agreedto hand over to the Vaughan Health Campus of Care.“I don’t want the attention of our community to be diverted away from our determination to geta hospital approved for our community and get the resources needed to build it,” he told TheCitizen in an interview. “At the same time, I don’t think that the city of Vaughan is exercisingsufficient oversight and responsibility for the 47 acres of land that will not be required for hospital use.”The Vaughan Health Campus of Care and the Vaughan Health Care Foundation havecountered Mr. Sorbara’s letter with a strongly worded, five-page letter addressing the issuesraised by Mr. Sorbara and challenging some of his assertions.The letter, which was sent to Mr. Bevilacqua, is signed by Michael DeGasperis and SamCiccolini, who is also chairperson of the Vaughan Health Care Foundation.“We’re obviously very surprised, disappointed and quite disgusted at the tone and the contentof Sorbara’s letter to the mayor,” Mr. DeGasperis said in an interview. “Sorbara’s letter isdamaging. It’s damaging to the VHCC and to establishing additional health services inVaughan to meet the immediate needs of the community. So all we can say is that we hopethat Sorbara will cease to engage in activity that could threaten the public’s confidence in thework of our volunteers and the city to make our health care dreams for the citizens a reality.”The organizations allege Mr. Sorbara’s criticisms are politically motivated.“… It is a thinly veiled attempt to shore up his party’s sagging electoral prospects in thisriding. There is no other logical explanation for the language, tenor, tone and content of MPPSorbara’s letter. It suggests controversy where none exists,” the letter from the organization’sstatesIn fact, Mr. DeGasperis said, many of Mr. Sorbara’s statements are way off base.He pointed out city representatives and members of the campus of care group have beenworking together to make some changes to the land deal and restructure the organization.“We’ve been in discussions for the last couple of months with the city to revise thecontribution agreement because we are aware that it has to be revised, the landscape haschanged somewhat,” Mr. DeGasperis said. “We want to engage the city more into thecampus of care initiatives, which includes more representation on the board and moretransparency and accountability.”City staff is preparing a report on the land deal, which is expected to be released in the fall. According to Mr. DeGasperis, many of the projects being planned for the hospital lands donot require Ministry of Health approval to go ahead, rendering Mr. Sorbara’s argument aboutthe ministry moot. As for restructuring the foundation, the board recently decided not to break from the VaughanHealth Campus of Care.“Donations to the VHCF are also alive and well. There is no concern in the philanthropiccommunity whatsoever about VHCF or the VHCC,” the letter states.It points out that in addition to raising funds for the hospital, the foundation also has amandate to raise money for the Vaughan Community Health Centre, Vaughan Seniors CareServices and “all future parts of the Vaughan Health Care Services Group”.Mr. DeGasperis said he met with city representatives this week and is not concerned it willside with Mr. Sorbara.“The campus of care is responsible for the entire development of 87 acres. Within the 87acres, the nucleus is the hospital. But if the hospital doesn’t get the approval to go ahead bythe province then we’re still proceeding,” he said. Mr. Sorbara, a heavyweight in the rulingOntario Liberal government, fired off a letter to Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua Friday with copiessent to several people including members of council, York Central president and CEO Altaf Stationwala, Health Minister Deb Matthews, as well as representatives of Vaughan HealthCampus of Care (VHCC) and Vaughan Health Care Foundation (VHCF), a non-profitorganization established by the city in 2004 to raise money to build a hospital.In the letter, he provides an update on the hospital approval process and outlines hisconcerns about the Vaughan Health Campus of Care (VHCC) as well as the foundation.One of the issues raised by Mr. Sorbara is that the campus of care still has a role in planningwhat will be built on a portion of the 87-acre property at Major Mackenzie Drive and JaneStreet that the city purchased to build a hospital.“Now that the land for the hospital has been assigned to (York Central Hospital), I think thosesurplus lands ought to be under the jurisdiction of the city and not a non-profit organizationwith a closed board,” he said.The city put up $80 million in 2009 to buy and develop land for a health care campuscomprised of a hospital and a range of ancillary health services that could include a long-
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Vaughan health care groupstrikes back at MPPSorbara
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