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Former mayors write prescription for new hospital

Wednesday, March 30, 2005   by: Bill Tremblay
North Bay Mayor Vic Fedeli, far left, is flanked by four former city mayors (r-l) Bruce Goulet, Jack Burrows, Stan Lawlor and Jack Smylie. Fedeli stepped down during a presentation by Lawlor at Tuesday night's city council meeting and let deputy mayor Peter Chirico chair the proceedings. Photo by Bill Tremblay, Special to BayToday.ca.

It’s “now or never” for the new North Bay Regional Health Centre, Stan Lawlor says.

Lawlor delivered that message to reporters Tuesday night, after making a presentation to city council on behalf of himself and three other former North Bay mayors, Jack Burrows, Jack Smylie and Bruce Goulet.

A petition has been put together for residents to show their support for the project.

Beginning hospital construction is critical, said Lawlor, who had been mayor between 1984 and 1994 and “getting in the ground” soon will cut costs caused by delays.

“It’s now or never, or the obstacle will be insurmountable,” Lawlor said.

Lawlor believes that it’s not a question of if the hospital will get built, but when.

“I’m absolutely confident that the hospital will be built,” Lawlor said.

“But we have to push the agenda.”

He explained that the hospital is needed to “serve the needs of our population into the twenty-first century.”

Lawlor said that a hospital with “high quality medical services” will be needed as the baby boomers become senior citizens.

Having Nipissing MPP Monique Smith on the city’s side is important in getting construction started, Lawlor added.

“She’s an insider.”

Smith was in the legislature Tuesday but one of her aides distributed a news release stating she was "delighted" to see "such a display of community support" for the project.

Smith, who has also signed the petition, stated in the news release that "getting the project to tender" continues to be her "number one" priority.

"This new petition initiative will help me in my efforts."

Lawlor said that he understands that building a hospital does take time, since North Bay isn‘t the only city in need of new facilities.

“Our intent is not political or confrontational,” he explained.

He added that even the petition for the hospital will take several weeks to complete, and that “mobilizing support” for completion is what they are after.

“But we cannot afford to be overlooked again.”

Anyone who wants to sign the petition can do so at North Bay city hall, at the mayor's office, on the fifth floor, at the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce and at different businesses in the area.

With files from Phil Novak


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