At its meeting on Monday, Sackville Town Council will be discussing whether to contribute $9,700 to a new $5 million hospice in Moncton that will care for the dying in southeastern New Brunswick.
Construction of the 10-bed hospice, which will serve 120 palliative-care patients per year, is expected to be completed this fall.
Riverview councillor Tammy Rampersaud asked Sackville for a $9,700 contribution in October as part of a fundraising campaign aimed at municipalities in Westmorland, Albert and Kent counties.
“It’s all based on population,” she told council. “If you were so generous and willing to grant that money to the campaign, it could be done in one year, two years, all the way up to five years.”
At their meeting last Monday, councillors were told that Sackville is the only municipality in the three counties that hasn’t made a financial commitment to the hospice.
Mayor Higham explained that council had received a note from the Sackville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary asking the town not to contribute because there were plans to invest in palliative care here.
He added, however, that the auxiliary later decided not to go ahead with its plans, but then failed to let the town know of its decision until recently.
Questions about hospice donation
In response to a question from Councillor Shawn Mesheau, Jamie Burke, the town’s chief administrative officer, said the money for the new hospice would come from funds allocated for community development grants.
Burke added it would be along the same lines as money the town donated to the Tantramar Seniors’ College in the past year.
“I understand the benefit of this [hospice] even though it’s not being built in Sackville,” Mesheau said, adding, however, that the town denied a grant to the ATV Club because it was for a project outside Sackville.
“I’m just kind of wondering what the precedents we’re setting here by moving forward. Are we going to consider those type of grants [outside Sackville] in the future?” Mesheau asked.
“That will be council’s decision,” Mayor Higham responded. “You’re correct that we had a similar question from SPCA in Moncton based upon a regional approach and I believe we did not choose to participate in that campaign,” he added.
The mayor pointed out, however, that the local Tantramar Hospice Palliative Care Organization supports the campaign to build a hospice in Moncton.
Chair Stephen Claxton-Oldfield told Warktimes last fall that a $9,700 contribution from Sackville would be a good investment.
“A residential hospice in Moncton would serve the folks in the Tantramar region,” he added. “Our local group is 100 per cent behind Hospice Southeast New Brunswick in terms of getting this residential hospice built.”
Councillor Joyce O’Neil wondered whether contributing money to a hospice in Moncton would be a good idea given uncertainty about the future of the hospital in Sackville.
“I know that when I met with the auxiliary, none of the auxiliary members were in favour of that because they couldn’t see putting their loved ones from Sackville in a place up there and wondering how we could travel back and forth,” O’Neil said.
“Anyway, just my food for thought,” she concluded.
Mayor Higham said council would have to debate the issue at its next meeting on June 8th.
To read previous coverage of this issue, click here.