Groves Memorial Community Hospital (GMCH) recently received approval from the Ontario Ministry of Health (MoH) to proceed with the demolition the old hospital building located on 235 Union Street in Fergus, ON. The building has been vacant since August 2020 when the new hospital opened. A committee consisting of hospital staff and board members worked with the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health West (OHW) to explore all possible options for use of the old site. Unfortunately, none are financially viable options.
Even though the old hospital may look good from the outside, there is a long list of underlying building issues. Everything from replacing the entire sewage system, boilers, roof, and elevators to asbestos abatement, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and foundation repairs – are just a few of the long list of costly repairs, replacements, and renovations required to meet current health care standards and codes.
Ministry of Health funding to operate the old site stopped on March 31, 2023. Since that time, GMCH is paying to keep required life safety systems in place and maintain the property while decisions were being made. These funds will be better used to operate the new hospital site.
Decommissioning work took place over the spring and summer to empty any remaining contents. Through a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process, Schouten was awarded the demolition contract. Below are some commonly asked questions and answers regarding the demolition.
When will the demolition work begin?
Over the next month, a new fence will go up around the perimeter of the building and abatement work will start. There are many steps in dismantling a building prior to demolition including surveying, site/safety preparations, removal of all hazardous materials such as asbestos, and removal of interior walls, electrical and mechanical elements.
How long will the demolition work take?
It is expected that work will take several months to complete. Updates on the demolition progress will be shared with the community as work progresses.
Is there an environmental impact? Are we recycling materials?
All the trees located on the old property will not be impacted by the demolition. Great care will also be taken to recycle any materials to divert it from the landfill.
Will we be honouring the building in anyway?
Plans are underway to decide on how to commemorate the site and its significance.
How much noise can we expect?
All efforts will be made to reduce the noise and dust. Work will take place within the allowable defined time in accordance with the Township’s by-laws.
Parking and Traffic
There will be no impact to street parking or traffic.
Who owns the old Groves Hospital?
Under a June 2021 memorandum of understanding with Centre Wellington Township, GMCH retains ownership of the old hospital lands fronting Union Street East, including parking lots. The site is a health system asset governed by the Ministry of Health (MoH).
What happens to the property after demolition?
The next logical step will be to sell the property and reinvest the proceeds into the future growth and development of Centre Wellington health care services and programs.
Were the old hospital lands intended to remain dedicated to providing health care services?
Dr. Groves intended to provide health care for the residents of Centre Wellington. His purpose has expanded with the growth of the new hospital, and his legacy continues as we offer high-quality healthcare services to our communities at the 131 Frederick Campbell Street site.