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Coalition entering Phase 2 of Welland hospital-saving campaign

Posted: February 22, 2016

(February 22, 2016)

By: Allan Benner, The Tribune

Niagara Health Coalition is stepping up its efforts to save Welland hospital.

The group’s chairperson, Sue Hotte, said several meetings are being held in south Niagara in the weeks to come to launch the second phase of its ongoing campaign to keep the hospital open and vibrant.

Meetings are planned for Welland, Wainfleet and Thorold in the weeks ahead. Hotte said there are additional meetings planned for March in Port Colborne, although details are still being finalized.

“We’re starting the second phase and trying to get more visibility,” she said.

The first meeting will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Welland Civic Square, 60 East Main St., including a presentation by Ontario Health Coalition director Doug Allan regarding hospital funding.

“We’re trying to get more volunteers — more people to become proactive,” she said.

Hotte said upcoming efforts to preserve the Welland hospital will include T-shirts, lawn signs and letters to be sent to MPPs, Health Minister Eric Hoskins and Premier Kathleen Wynne.

She said blue ribbons are also being distributed as a show of support for the local hospital, as well as health care in general. She said those ribbons will be distributed across Ontario, protesting hospital cuts planned throughout the province.

Hotte said a petition circulated by the organization throughout south Niagara last year has about 20,000 signatures — about the same number of signatures that a petition circulated by the City of Welland garnered a few years ago.

She said the coalition is working to set up a meeting at Queen’s Park in mid-March to present the petition to the government.

“We’re just finalizing the information now and what we’re hoping to do is lobby some of the MPPs and hopefully meet with the minister of health,” she said.

The coalition has scheduled a meeting with Wainfleet residents to discuss health-care needs specific to that community on Monday, Feb. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at Christ Anglican Church, 70 Church St.

A Save the Welland Hospital planning meeting is scheduled for Welland Civic Square on Tuesday, March 1, starting at 6:30 p.m.

And on Thursday, March 3, a Niagara Health Coalition meeting is scheduled at the Niagara Regional Labour Council office, at 1 Ormond St., starting at 6:30 p.m.

ABenner@postmedia.com

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