Ontario announces $14M for Muskoka hospital expansions

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The Ontario government has announced an investment of $14 million to expand health care in and around the Muskoka region.

The funding will be used to plan for the phased redevelopment of two hospitals in the area, the province said. Huntsville District Memorial Hospital and South Muskoka Memorial Hospital will both benefit from the funding.

In a news release, Ontario said the funding will create additional beds and services in Muskoka and East Parry Sound. More than 50 new beds are being planned as part of the redevelopment.

Muskoka Algonquin Health, the hospital network in the area, serves 141,000 people, including residents and those who visit cottages in the summer months.

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The announcement, made by Ontario Premier Doug Ford in Huntsville Sunday, is the latest in a string of health care and infrastructure announcements made by the governing Progressive Conservatives.

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Ontario’s provincial election takes place on June 2, although the official campaign period has not yet begun.

Kim Wright, an election strategist, previously told Global News that a flurry of pre-election announcements from the governing party is to be expected.

“They all do it,” she said. “That’s the fundamental problem with this is everybody does it and everyone wants to finger point when they’re in opposition.”

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Polling done by Ipsos exclusively for Global News suggests the provincial election race is tightening, with the Liberals three points behind the Progressive Conservatives.

“This investment will ensure that residents have access to high-quality care in safe and modern spaces for generations to come,” said Ontario’s Minister of Health, Christine Elliott.

— With files from Global News’ Matthew Bingley

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