Mayor requests input ahead of Council decision on KGH redevelopment funding

A wooden massing of Phase 2 of the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) redevelopment. Photo via Infrastructure Ontario.

With Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) preparing for the second phase of the redevelopment of Kingston General Hospital (KGH), Kingston City Council will discuss the what, why, when, how, and how much the City will contribute to the approximately $1 billion project.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, City Council will receive a report and recommendation from CAO Lanie Hurdle on the “Potential Municipal Investment in Health Care Initiatives,” which looks at providing funding for three different healthcare-based projects: Recruitment and securing of more family physicians for Kingston; Extending the services of the Integrated Care Hub (ICH) and the “existing agreements” with HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS) and/or other agencies for service provision there, and; Supporting KHSC’s redevelopment of KGH, particularly to ensure compliance with the provincial funding model.

More specifically, the report states:

“City staff are recommending the option that the City uses funds that had been included in the operating budget projections to support three (3) local health care initiatives for a total of $1.3M, already included in the 2.4 per cent budget target for 2022:

  1. Up to $250,000 per year for three years, for a total of up to $750,000 for the Integrated
    Care Hub;
  2. $250,000 per year for eight years for a total of $2.0M for family physicians recruitment;
  3. $800,000 per year for three years, $1.05M for five years, and $1.3M for two years for a total of $10,250,000 over 10 years for the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation for the Kingston Health Sciences expansion and renewal fundraising campaign.”

It is the latter item that has prompted Mayor Bryan Paterson to ask for community feedback prior to the Council meeting on Tuesday night. The provincial government’s funding model requires that a portion of the cost of the project – an estimated $500 million to $1 billion, which may increase further depending on “rising construction costs” – be funded through local community fundraising efforts.

“Because the project costs are still estimated, the local community share has been estimated at about $189M over ten years. The University Hospitals Kingston Foundation (UHKF) has reached out to the City and requested a total of $25M over 10 years to contribute to the community local share,” the report from CAO Hurdle reads.

“City staff have reviewed options and recognize that it is not feasible to finance this contribution within the existing taxation target provided by City Council. Staff are proposing that a contribution of $800K per year for the first three years, $1.05M for the following five years, and $1.3M for the last two years, for a total contribution of $10,250,000 from the earmarked health care support funding.”

The report goes on to say that City Staff recognize the recommended contribution is less than half of the request submitted by UHKF, but that “it is feasible within the existing tax rate provided by Council while supporting other important health care initiatives.”

Further into the report, other options are presented to Council, though it is noted those are not part of the Staff recommendation. Those options are:

  • Option 1: The addition of a one-time additional 0.6 per cent tax increase in 2022 in order to finance the remaining request from the UHKF of $14,750,000, for a total of $25M over ten years for the hospital expansion/renewal.
  • Option 2: Providing $1.3 million per year for 10 years, for a total of 13 million to UHKF for the KHSC expansion and renewal fundraising campaign.
    Increasing the tax rate by 0.5 per cent in 2022 in order to finance the remaining $12 million over 10 years, for a total of $25 million for the KHSC expansion and renewal.
  • Option 3: Removal of the $1.3 million earmarked for healthcare initiatives from the budget, and a reduction of the tax rate by 0.55 per cent in 2022 accordingly.
  • Option 4: Reallocation of the $1.3 million earmarked for healthcare initiatives to other services of Council priorities.

“A condition of the funding is that a 10 per cent share of the money has to be raised locally before the province will then fund the remaining 90 per cent of the project,” Mayor Paterson explained in a video posted to his YouTube channel on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021.

“Because the overall hospital redevelopment is such a big project, that 10 per cent share means a lot of local money needs to be raised. The Hospital Foundation [sic], which is in charge of local fundraising, has approached the City and asked for a contribution of $25 million towards that local share. Now, this amount is far beyond what the City can accommodate in our existing capital budget. That means it would need to be funded with a dedicated property tax rate increase,” Paterson continued.

“Over the next 10 years, the City could fit about $10 million into our existing budget, but would then need to impose a 0.6 per cent property tax increase to raise the remaining $15 million.”

Paterson went on to express that he wants to hear how Kingstonians feel about that possibility (without noting any of the other options listed above), asking residents to email him at [email protected], and to reach out to their City Councillor to discuss the matter.

“The more input we receive from the community, the better positioned we’ll be when we discuss this request at our city council meeting next week,” he said.

View the whole video here:

About the project

According to Infrastructure Ontario, the provincial body that is responsible for overseeing the KHSC project to redevelop KGH, the project “will include the demolition of aging buildings and wings (Etherington Hall, Douglas Wing, Richardson Labs, Dietary and Empire Wings), the renovation of existing spaces, and the construction of a new 12-floor patient tower that will be completed in two consecutive phases to address infrastructure deficiencies in the existing facilities.”

It will also involve the construction of a new wing, and renovations to the fifth floor of the Kidd/Davies Wing. The following are the features of the project highlighted by Infrastructure Ontario:

  • 80 net new medical and surgical inpatients beds;
  • Surgical suite, including 13 operating rooms, and a procedure suite, with designated space for learning and simulation and direct access to the Emergency Department for trauma treatment;
  • Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), including 8 net new bassinets;
  • Labour and delivery suite, including 8 Labour Birth Recovery and Postpartum (LBRP) and two operative birthing rooms;
  • A new Emergency department with larger trauma bays, private treatment areas for patients with space for family, and central integration of diagnostic imaging, which will accommodate approximately 66,000 visits per year;
  • Clinical laboratories with open, flexible space to adapt to new technologies;
  • New morgue and autopsy suite, pharmacy, data centre, and an Administration and Environmental Exposure Unit;
  • Two shelled floors and 72 inpatient beds to meet current needs and address future demand, and;
  • An onsite rooftop helipad to allow for faster access to patient transfers by air ambulance. 

“The Kingston General Hospital redevelopment will be designed and built to meet the Canada Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards,” Infrastructure Ontario states of the community and green benefits of the project.

“The hospital will be consistent with the Ministry of Health’s high standards for patient and family-centred care, incorporating principles of senior-friendly design, accessibility and infection prevention and control.”

Find more information on Phase 2 of the redevelopment, as well as information on the first phase completed in 2011, visit the Infrastructure Ontario website.

What do you think?

Like Mayor Paterson, we here at Kingstonist want to know what the residents of Kingston think about the recommendation and proposed options coming before Council next week. If, unlike Council, you had to select either the recommendation, the recommendation and Option 1, or one of Options 2, 3, or 4 – without any amendments – which would you select?

[poll id=”464″]

One thought on “Mayor requests input ahead of Council decision on KGH redevelopment funding

  • 1) If I understand correctly, KGH is part of a regional healthcare hub. Thus the question – what discussions is taking place with other municipalities in the region for their, if any’ contribution to the project?
    2) Why should Kingston property taxpayers be further burdened with an increase in tax when healthcare is the responsibility of the Province? We already pay through the Provincial tax system.
    3) How about offering Kingston tax payers some relief by finding ways to rein in City spending?

    And just how practical is it to publish this article on the 16th Nov, and expect readers to submit their opinions to the Mayor & Council for a meeting on the same day?

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