• John Jantak

Ste. Anne’s councillor votes against city’s financial aid for COVID-19 protective equipment


THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK

Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue city council adopted a resolution to provide Pointe-Claire’s Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation with a $500 donation for specialized quality personal protective equipment in order to optimally protect staff in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Five of the six sitting Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue councillors including Mayor Paola Hawa voted in favour to adopt a resolution at the Monday evening council meeting on August 25 to provide a $500 donation to the Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation with one exception – District 3 Councillor Francis Juneau voted against it.

Juneau cited two reasons for his decision – health care including the purchase of protective equipment is not part of the responsibilities of a municipality and the Lakeshore General Hospital is not on the territory of Ste. Anne’s.

The resolution noted that the city supports non-profit organizations by providing donations and had received a request of financial assistance from the foundation in June which would allow staff to have access to specialized quality personal protective equipment in order to optimally protect staff in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support for hospital

The mayor said the donation was made to help support the hospital. “The Lakeshore Hospital is there for the entire region because it’s the only hospital for the entire region. Whether it’s on our territory or not, it serves the entire West Island and beyond. Personally, I think we all have to pull together to support our only hospital,” Mayor Paola Hawa told The Journal.

“I understand that hospitals are not under the jurisdiction or the responsibility of a municipality but neither is welfare. Just because the provincial government doesn’t provide enough money for welfare recipients and therefore they have to resort to food banks does not mean we’re not going to support food banks. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion but it’s our only hospital,” said Hawa.

Donation welcomed

The city’s donation was welcomed by the foundation’s Director General, Heather Holmes, who sought to clarify the importance of donations received not only from neighbouring West Island municipalities, but off-island communities such as Vaudreuil-Dorion whose citizens also benefit from the services provided by the Lakeshore General Hospital.

“It’s crucial support. It’s very much appreciated and extremely necessary for the optimal functioning of the hospital. Although the provincial government steps up and offers certain budget allocations, the communities’ help allows us to offer excellence of service which sometimes government budgets don’t allow,” said Holmes.

Hospital benefits all residents

“There may be a lack of a full understanding by people who would not support a donation of this kind from a municipality because every municipality’s residents in the West Island benefit from having a regional hospital. If we didn’t have the Lakeshore, where would Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue residents go for health care?” Holmes said.

The council meeting on Monday was the first in-person session held by the city since April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All the council members and the five citizens in attendance practiced social distancing measures wore face masks throughout the entire meeting.

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