A Citizen’s meeting was held by the Hospital Committee in the Miners’ Hall last evening with about thirty-five people in attendance. This committee had been chosen at a previous meeting to look into the hospitalization question, with a view to improving the local service by the erection of a new institution or the remodeling and management of the present one.
Dr. Sproule was in the chair with Jack Crummey acting as Secretary. The Chairman opened the meeting with the reading of his report on the Committee’s activities.
Ladies and Gentlemen; In presenting this report I wish to make it as brief as possible so that we may have more time to discuss this important and urgent problem, that lies before us.
The date is long past when we had reached a crisis as to hospitalization in Nova Scotia.
Your committee has held a number of meetings and as time went on we realized the tremendous task that lies ahead and the urgent need for some kind of hospitalization.
Your committee full knowing that the consensus of opinion among our citizens being to the effect that the good and gracious Rev. William Charles Wilson, through his great and humane efforts, had accumulated a legacy for the continual and perpetual benefits to be applied and remain intact in perpetuity for the miners and people of Springhill. With this in mind we have tried to negotiate with the powers that be, and to have them see and understand, that we are entitled to satisfactory administration of this legacy that rightly belongs to us. Your Committee has been constantly working in hopes that our plea will be heard.
The time has now come, something must be done about this unsatisfactory condition that now prevails.
On March 14, 1947, four members of your committee journeyed to Halifax to present our case to Bishop Kingston and Chancellor Harris. They were well received but without results.
We investigated the cost of building a new hospital on our own and the results showed that to build a new semi-fireproof hospital with all accessories and equipment would at least amount to $600,000.00 and probably when finished would require even more money than that at present prices of material and labor.
The new hospital at Sackville has twenty-three beds at a cost of $115,000, which means $5,000 per bed, and the larger the hospital and more beds, we have found in our investigation we have found more money per bed.
The majority of our committee were of the opinion that a new hospital at the present time is out of the question and the legacy and wishes of the good and gracious Rev. William Charles Wilson, if he were here living and among us today, there would be no question of them closing or taking the endowment fund away from us and satisfactory hospitalization in our community would be in effect. We did not act on the offer of All Saints Hospital Corporation to buy them out, even though the price seemed reasonable. It is very questionable if they can legally sell any part or parcel of the legacy, while Springhill remains a mining community and hospitalization is necessary and required.
In closing I wish to say there has been considerable difference of opinion on subjects your committee has discussed at several of the meetings held by them.
It is impossible for me to offer any material recommendations in this report that will concur with all members. For this reason, I feel that every member of your committee should have the opportunity of expressing his views to you directly.
In closing may I express my sincere regrets in not having more to offer you.
Before opening the meeting for discussion, Dr. Sproule called on the other committee members to enlighten the audience as to the steps already taken.
Mr. Osmond gave a brief resume of a trip to Halifax of four members, and a lengthy conference with Bishop Kingston, in an effort to clarify the conditions attached to the Endowment Fund. He felt that they had made a very favorable impression and they had left with hopes of a successful settlement of the problem.
An extensive report on All Saints Hospital was then read by Mr. S. Leadbetter. It was his conviction that neither party, the town or the Church, can take complete control of the fund. Therefore, he felt that the two should co-operate with the town offering assistance when the hospital runs into difficulties.
In presenting his view, Mr. Mason urged caution in tackling so complicated a question. None are fully informed concerning the fund left by Canon Wilson nor in other matters concerning the cooperation rights of the hospital set-up. He said that the hospital itself is the property of the Diocese of the Anglican Church, but the interest of the fund belongs to the people as long as the hospital continues to operate. The Church has never benefited from this money, which over a period of forty years, has benefited the citizens of Springhill to a total of over half million dollars. He mentioned that the Bishop felt the much-needed repairs could not be financed by the church but should be contributed by the citizens. In reference to the recent proposal presented before the Town Council by Archdeacon Harris for a grant of $150,000, Mr. Mason said it was not approved by the Hospital Board nor by the Council or Department of Municipal Affairs. Such aid, in a measure, could be given if the Town became part of the Corporation by acquiring some of the hospital property.
Mr. Osmond felt that steps should be taken to have the Endowment Fund question settled once and for all, avoiding court action to do so. In his reply to him, Mr. Mason said this fund does not belong to the Church itself but is handled by the Eastern Trust Company which will hand over the interest to the hospital corporation as long as it exists.
Mr. Leadbetter put a motion before the meeting asking for legal advice and a selection of a new committee to continue the work. This motion contained many technicalities, which caused some discussion. It was finally withdrawn by Mr. Leadbetter who resigned from the current committee.
A motion was moved by Calvin Ward, and passed that the existing committee select their own legal council and present their action before the town council for ratification.
Mr. Crummey suggested the vacancies on the committee be filled. The following were appointed: Rev. McKinnon, Mr. Rod Johnson and Dr. Ryan.
The Chairman expressed great disappointment at the small number of citizens who turned out for the meeting. He felt the hospital situation was an acute one and should attract much more attention from the towns people.
Another meeting will be called at a later date by the committee. The meeting was then adjourned.
Pat Crowe is a member of the Springhill Heritage Group. To learn more or read past article of the Heritage Corner, visit www.springhillheritage.ca.