The local board of trade is holding their own form of a pre-budget consultation this Friday. Board members want to hear from anyone interested in what provincial Finance Minister Tom Marshall should consider when drafting his spring budget — a process that is likely underway already.
This process may not be the same as telling the minister face to face, but it is a good time for a strong case to be made for moving the new regional hospital project forward at a greater pace.
There was barely $1 million in last year’s budget for the multi-billion dollar facility and that won’t do this year.
If tens of millions of dollars aren’t allocated to the project that is to be completed in 2018, then there will be increased cause for worry.
The session this week will give all those who have an interest in seeing this project get moving — and that should include everyone in this region — to have their say in public about it.
Groups and individuals must get out and show how important the new hospital is to the people of this region — and that includes municipal leaders and health-care associations.
One of these days, Marshall will bring his own road show to the region and that will provide another opportunity to show the provincial government the people are less than happy with the modest progress up to now.
Don’t for a moment worry that the minister might take offence.
Marshall is a backer of the regional hospital and he will welcome all the support this region can muster.
Go along and tell him that delaying the project any more just isn’t an option.
The minister can take that stong message back to cabinet and tell his colleagues that they will have to get off their seats and get serious about dedicating some real money to moving the project forward.
No one in government has said the project won’t go ahead, but they do appear to be dragging out the process as long as possible without committing to deciding what will be included in the final blueprints.
If a strong message about the new regional hospital isn’t sent now we may be facing another year of dithering by politicians.
That just can’t be allowed to happen because of indifference.