Tuesday afternoon, the Boundary Trails Health Centre Foundation took another step toward meeting its local fundraising goal of $10 million for the expansion project now underway at the hospital located between Morden and Winkler. During a cheque presentation yesterday, Winkler Co-op committed $250,000 to the effort, the largest ever donation for the cooperative.
"This is certainly the largest donation of its kind that has ever gone through Winkler Co-op," explained General Manager Evan Toews. "The board and management both agreed, and took a look at the needs that were here, and the accessibility it gives for healthcare for all of our members in the region, and we thought it was a really important thing for generations to come to donate toward this."
Toews noted, with over 300 employees and 20,000 members, a donation of this size is reflective of the membership across the region. Winkler Co-op has food, fuel and agro locations in Winkler, Morden, Plum Coulee, Rosetown and Lowe Farm.
Foundation Board Chair Ben Friesen was asked about this latest donation.
"It feels really great, and it's just once again so great to see the local community pitching in," he said. "The Co-op, obviously, it's a community store, and it's just so good to see they're obviously giving back to the community, and it's a tremendous boost for our fundraising for this big project."
Friesen indicated the Foundation has raised over $3 million, but stressed there are many things happening right now regarding potential and possible future commitments and donations.
"It's kind of like you're in the stages of where you're just growing, growing, growing, and once we get a lot of commitments back from the asks, and the work that guys like Louis (Tanguay) and Jim (Neufeld, both on the fundraising Committee) have been doing. They've been talking to a lot of people, and the rest of the board as well, so we're waiting for a lot of confirmations," noted Friesen. "It will take another month, or two, until we get a real, good solid number to to say, 'Okay, this is where we're now at, and now we're looking to to finish up from there;"
The Pembina Valley region, particularly the Morden, Winkler, Stanley area, continues to grow at a substantial rate. With that in mind, Toews noted the importance of having high level healthcare available at home.
"We've seen, in the last twenty plus years, since the original hospital was built, healthcare has been more accessible to all of us, and we've all benefited from it, and by growth in the healthcare profession, it's just going to benefit us into the future," he said.
Meanwhile, work continues on the expansion site immediately next to the existing facility, with earth moving and prep work ongoing since beginning last Fall.
"As far as we're all concerned, going along at a good pace, and looking at the initial buildings done in two years, then to the other one, two years to follow," added Friesen when asked about construction getting fully underway this Spring. "It's a four year plan, so we're looking at fully operational, probably by 2027 type of thing, but right now everything is looking to be going ahead as planned."