Construction on the new palliative care wing at the Haliburton Highlands Health Services facility in Haliburton Village is underway after an official groundbreaking ceremony Dec. 2.
For two and half years the HHHS Foundation has been raising funds for the project through its Making Moments Matter campaign.
While the foundation has reached its target of $925000 the anticipated cost of the expansion is now $1.25 million leaving $325000 left to raise.
“We will do this” foundation board member Don Popple confidently told a packed room. “You can put that in the paper if you want.”
Popple noted that in the late 1990s the community had raised several million dollars when the current hospitals in Haliburton and Minden were constructed.
“If we hadn’t done it then we wouldn’t be standing here” Popple said.
The Haliburton Lions Club made a $2000 donation during the ceremony and board member Lisa Tompkins later said an anonymous donation had brought the shortfall to less than $300000.
The family of Kim Wilkinson a Miskwabi Lake seasonal resident made a substantial donation to the project.
“My brother and I were very fortunate to spend our summers growing up in Haliburton as our parents – John and Bonnie Wilkinson had a cottage on Little Hawk Lake” Wilkinson told the room. “Their cottage was seasonal so at retirement they moved to Irondale where they lived and ran the very successful business Hawkfield Auto Service until their failing health caused them to close it. They were very active in the community of Irondale where my brother John still has the family home.
“Given our long family history in the area we have had many occasions to use the local medical services and we are very thankful that they are here and getting ever better. Having been involved in the end of life care of both of my parents it was apparent that there was a need for a palliative care centre in Haliburton.
“The end of life is a very difficult time for families and can be even more difficult stressful and expensive if they are forced to leave their community to seek care. Our family are very proud to support this centre and know that my parents would be happy to know that it will now exist for their family friends and neighbours. We invite all full-time and seasonal residents to join us in helping to fund the new and much needed Haliburton Highlands Palliative Care Centre.”
Huntsville’s Greystone Construction which has completed a number of projects in Haliburton County including the Granite View condominium building and the county EMS base has gotten the contract for the job.
“I understand a small community raising a million dollars is impressive” said owner Pat Dube. “I respect that.”
The expansion – which will include two palliative suites with private washrooms a family room with kitchenette quiet room and additional washroom – is scheduled to be completed in the spring.
The foundation has also launched its annual Cash for Care Lottery which will help with costs.