By Michael Christianson
Dryden Regional Health Centre Fundraising Coordinator Chuck Schmitt spoke to council on Monday night seeking a commitment from the city for $50,000 over four years to the CT Scan Renewal Fund.
The current CT Scan Unit will require replacement at a cost of $1.25 million. The fundraiser hopes to raise that amount over three years. The fundraiser kicked off on March 6 taking in $400,000 in one day.
Mayor Greg Wilson was quick to raise the financial realities that Dryden is facing and that any increase to the budget would mean it has to come from somewhere else or require a tax increase to support the proposal. Wilson pointed out that the next three years will be the hardest for Dryden financially as the city repays its debt.
Norm Bush proposed paying the majority of the $50,000 ask in the fourth year, 2021 but other councillors were unsure of passing the bill onto the next council and the uncertainty of what the next few years could bring financially for the city.
Councillor Nick Beyak pointed to the generosity of Dryden and voiced his certainty that DRHC would raise the needed funds.
Roger Valley proposed bringing the proposal to the finance committee and with Martin MacKinnon agreeing the issue seemed to be set for future discussion.
“I can appreciate the financial environment that they’re working under and they’re looking at a commitment to not just this council but passing that bill on to future council,” said Schmitt. “I was happy that there seemed some support at the table and there’s some further discussion. It wasn’t summarily rejected and that would have been easy and understandable had that happened so I was quite heartened by what I saw here tonight from council.”
Other communities in the region have already given to the CT Scan Fund including Ignace who gave $15,000 on the fundraiser kick off day, Vermilion Bay gave $4,000, Eagle Lake First Nation gave $5,000 and Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation gave $20,000.