By Alana Pickrell 
BELLEVILLE – Belleville will soon pay its final instalment to a campaign supporting Kingston’s three hospitals, but the request for money will not stop there.
In 2007, city council agreed to donate $820,000 over 10 years to the Together We Can campaign launched by the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation . The goal of the campaign is to raise money for Hotel Dieu, Kingston General and Providence Care hospitals in Kingston.
So far the total raised is well over $125 million, but according to the foundation’s president and chief executive officer, Denise Cummings , the campaign will not be coming to an end anytime soon.
“We will continue to seek community support for these projects for the foreseeable future,” Cummings told QNet News Wednesday. However, the total amount that will be needed for the project is not yet finalized, she said.
The foundation has already “secured ongoing support from the city of Kingston for the next wave of capital investment required in our hospitals,” she said.
But on top of Kingston’s support, the foundation will be asking all municipalities that benefit from these hospitals to help pay for the upcoming projects, Cummings said.
A date has not yet been set for when the request will come to Belleville, she said.
Belleville Coun. Jack Miller told QNet News that “until there is actually a number that is associated with the request, I cannot speak on council’s behalf or even my own to know what it is they want and whether we’re in the position to do it.”
Cummings and the foundation’s associate director, Amy Doyle, came before Belleville council Monday to update it on the original donation the city made a decade ago.
Improvements to the Kingston hospitals is a necessity for health services to Belleville residents, they said, and will enhance the quality of care that the hospitals can offer.
“Within our region, each of the health-care corporations has a specific piece of the continuum of care that they are responsible for delivering. And for patients who are very acutely ill or very seriously injured, they are intended to get that care in Kingston,” said Cummings.
“Belleville’s generous gift (in 2007) supported three key projects at Kingston General Hospital, which were in areas most heavily used by residents of Belleville,” Doyle told the councillors.
The three projects were:
- The Kidd 9 unit at KGH, which focuses on patients with compromised immune systems.
- The expansion of the cancer centre, which now features twice as much room as it did before.
- The expansion of the intensive-care unit, which Doyle said “supports the region’s most vulnerable patients.”
Cummings told QNet that she personally has benefited from the improvements to the cancer centre.
“As a cancer patient, the expansion and renovation of the cancer centre has made a phenomenal difference in the quality of the care experience that patients and their families have … The care environment is so much more welcoming and designed to support patient flow, and supportive of patients and their needs.”
Cummings and Doyle told council that in 2015 the foundation launched a new campaign with an initial goal of $65 million. To date, $54.8 million has been raised, and the foundation expects to reach the target within a year. This first chunk of money is to help secure community support, Cummings explained to QNet News; eventually the goal is to help pay for projects that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
She told council: “Our plan is to remove four very, very old buildings in the middle of the complex … and then to construct a new eight-storey tower that would provide space for us to replace our operating suites, diagnostician labs and emergency department. This means 13 new operating suites.”
Doyle added: “Most importantly, this means that residents from Belleville don’t have to travel to Ottawa or Toronto for specialized care.”