Premier Doug Ford made a surprise visit to Grimsby yesterday to deliver some good news to Niagara residents, namely that the provincial government will fund the much-needed refurbishment and reconstruction of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.
In this era of government austerity, the funding announcement was a surprise, but it speaks to the dogged determination of Niagara residents and the medical community to improve the quality of medical care in the region.
But Ford wasn’t done playing Santa Claus Wednesday; when asked about making a commitment to Hamilton’s LRT project, Ford stated that Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who has been a strong proponent of LRT, was re-elected with a large mandate and “if he wants an LRT, we’ll give him an LRT.”
That’s certainly not the written guarantee for LRT funding that some Hamilton councillors have been asking for, but it is another re-affirmation from Ford that Hamilton’s LRT project is still on the government’s radar.
To be clear, there is still speculation that when push comes to shove, the province may alter the funding formula and ask the city to ante up for some of the cost of LRT, but no one will confirm or deny that.
For now, though, Ford’s declaration of support is an early Christmas gift for the Hamilton mayor, who still has to convince some skeptical councillors, new and old, to push ahead with LRT.
Whether or not it’s enough to get vacillating city councillors back on the LRT bandwagon, only time will tell.