Ontario to provide City of Belleville up to $3 million for Sagonaska Bridge structural upgrades

MONDAY, JULY 15, 2019

Belleville – The Province of Ontario will provide the City of Belleville up to $3 million for structural work to extend the life of the Sagonaska Bridge, Todd Smith announced today.

The Bay of Quinte MPP and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services explained the funding is provided through the Ministry of Transportation’s Connecting Links Program, which supports infrastructure renewals on municipal roads and bridges that join segments of provincial highway.

With the Province contributing 90 per cent of eligible costs, the City will be able to replace extension joints, effect structural repairs, and add waterproofing to the six-lane, two-span bridge over the Moira River, built in 1978. Smith noted that while the structure had not been upgraded in its lifespan, it was starting to show signs of severe deterioration.

“This important structural link on Hwy 62 has endured weathering over the years and it had become a concern for the City,” Smith said. “Our government is committing to investing to offer peace of mind the Sagonaska Bridge and other valuable links will in good maintenance for years to come.”

Smith noted the route via North Front and Pinnacle streets is one of just four major north-south arteries in the City. It is heavily used by local residents to reach shopping destinations and Hwy 401 and serves as a major access point for the downtown, public-service facilities like Belleville General Hospital and Loyalist College, as well as Prince Edward County.

Previously, the Connecting Links program provided $157,000 for detailed design work for the Sagonaska Bridge. This further investment is a natural progression to preserve a key piece of infrastructure.

Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk welcomed the funding.

“We are very pleased to learn of the Ministry of Transportation’s decision to provide $3 million, through their 2019-2020 Connecting Links program, for the Sagonaska Bridge rehabilitation project,” Panciuk said. “The bridge carries Hwy 62/Pinnacle Street over the Moira River and is a critical connection point within the City’s road network. With this support, we are prepared to proceed quickly and get this initiative underway.”

Smith was pleased to be joined by Hastings-Lennox and Addington MPP Daryl Kramp as he met Panciuk and other City of Belleville officials for the announcement Monday.

The Connecting Links Program covers 352 km of roads and 70 bridges in 77 municipalities across Ontario. For 2019, the Province has approved $30 million in funding to support 25 projects in 23 municipalities. Design, construction, renewal, rehabilitation and replacement costs are eligible to be funded.

Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney said the fund is a good example of how the Province is partnering with municipalities to create positive change.

“We are investing in municipal roads and bridges to keep families safe and to support jobs and growth in local communities,” said Mulroney. “We are working with municipal partners to make investments to help ensure Ontario’s transportation system works for everyone.”

Eligible municipalities will be encouraged to apply for the 2020-2021 Connecting Links Program during an intake later this year.


Ontario investing in 76 new long-term care beds and upgrades to 84 existing beds at H.J. McFarland Home


FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2019


Picton – A Government of Ontario investment announced today will transform Prince Edward County’s H.J. McFarland Memorial Home into a modern 160-bed long-term care facility.

This afternoon, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services welcomed Minister of Long-Term Care Dr. Merrilee Fullerton to share this much-anticipated development about the 44-year-old municipally operated home.

Fullerton announced that the government is adding 76 new long-term care beds and upgrading 84 existing beds to modern design standards. When complete, the home will include specialized services for behavioral, dialysis, dementia and patients recovering from an illness or injury.

Smith welcomed the announcement.

“This investment will allow Prince Edward County to offer the care residents and families deserve in a state-of-the-art facility for years to come,” said Smith. “With an aging population with a median age seven years older than the provincial average, the need here is real.  The County has been hoping for these beds since the Picton Manor closed in 2012 and, today, we have delivered.”

Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson was grateful to receive the news.

“The municipality welcomes the provincial government’s commitment to long-term care in our community,” said Ferguson. “As a popular retirement destination, the demand for long-term care will continue to grow in the coming years. With the support announced today, we will redevelop H.J. McFarland Memorial Home in order to expand access and enhance the care we offer in a warm, welcoming and modern environment.”

A medical doctor with years of family practice in the Ottawa area, Fullerton said the new beds will help take pressure off hospitals, allow doctors and nurses to work more efficiently and provide better, faster health care for Ontario families and patients.

Smith was excited about how that commitment might ease pressure and improve patient experiences and wait times at Quinte Healthcare Corporation (QHC) hospitals.

“In the Quinte region and across Ontario, we have people in hospital beds that would be more appropriately housed in long-term care facilities, like McFarland Home, but there haven’t been open beds available to them,” said Smith.  “By addressing this long neglected issue, we can free up hospital beds for more acute services and work to eliminate hallway health care.”

Today’s announcement was also greeted with enthusiasm by QHC’s vice-president and chief nursing officer Carol Smith Romeril.

“Added long-term care beds is wonderful news for those in the community who require this type of care. From a hospital perspective, more long-term care beds means that patients no longer requiring hospital-level care have an appropriate place to go. This frees up beds in our hospitals for patients truly in need of the acute care that our hospitals provide,” said Smith Romeril.

Fullerton indicated the increased bed allocation at H.J. McFarland Memorial Home is part of the government’s commitment to add 15,000 long-term care beds over the next five years.


Announcement video: Government of Ontario announcements YouTube channel

Ministry of Long-Term Care website: www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-long-term-care


MPP Todd Smith named Minister of Children, Community and Social Services in cabinet shuffle



Toronto – Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith is welcoming his new assignment as Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, announced this morning at Queen’s Park.

“It’s the third largest ministry in government, so it’s a big, big responsibility,” said Smith. “I’m happy and honoured the Premier has chosen me to take on this really important file.”

The Ministry administers social assistance programs like Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program, developmental services and autism programming, the Family Responsibility Office and a wide range of community supports including those for women and children fleeing domestic violence and Ontario’s Indigenous communities.

Smith said he’s eager to start working on his new responsibilities.

“It’s an exciting file that’s important in the Quinte region and in communities right across the province. I’m ready to jump in head first to meet with stakeholders and families that are affected to better understand the challenges they’re facing,” said Smith. “I’m looking forward to working with all my teammates around the cabinet table and my new associate minister for children and women’s issues, Jill Dunlop, to ensure our government continues to provide for these families and ensure they have the services they need and the Province is providing those in a sustainable way.”

Looking back on the Government House Leader position, which Smith held for the duration of the 42nd session of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario alongside roles as Minister of Government and Consumer Services from June-November 2018 and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade from November 2018 to June 2019, the local MPP was proud of the work the government accomplished while he held that position.

“What a great role that was.  As Government House Leader I helped shepherd 20 different pieces of legislation to pass – which is a record. We wanted to have somebody experienced in that role in the first year as we were moving legislation through the House as quickly as we could. I was pleased to serve,” said Smith.

Smith is pleased to see six new faces join cabinet and looking forward to continuing to deliver on the government’s promises as it enters its second year.

“The shakeup that happened today is ensuring we have the right people in the right place at the right time,” he said. “Our Premier always refers to our caucus as an all-star caucus and we have some very, very bright new additions added to the good team already at the cabinet table. It’s a positive all around.”


Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services website