Between three and four hundred people gathered in the Miners’ Hall Wednesday evening at the call of a group of citizens for the purpose of forming a “Citizens Protection Association.” Miss Nellie Smith, representing the group, took the chair and Mr. Merle Smith officiated as secretary.
In opening the meeting Miss Smith spoke of a division in town affairs, at various times, and at the moment the question was the hospital. She suggested the meeting could have been avoided had the Citizens’ Hospital Committee called a meeting and rendered their report prior to the Hospital Act being placed before the citizens in the form of a plebiscite. The citizens, she said, had felt they were ignored. For this reason the group she represented felt that a local organization should be formed that could demand more information. In over a year, she pointed out, the Citizens’ Committee had not made a report although they had enjoyed exhaustive legal council. She felt that information must have been brought forward by the lawyers that should have been presented to the citizens. The legal fees, she pointed out, amounted to $2,179.03 since June. 1947.
“This meeting”, continued the speaker “was called as an organization meeting because a few of us were not satisfied with the proposed Hospital Bill. It was called as a fact finding meeting and not a fault finding.”
After the plebiscite had been defeated, Miss Smith told the meeting, she had written to the Attorney-General pointing out the Act might be offered to the Legislature in a modified form and she urged that no action should be taken until the Citizens’ Protective Association should have the opportunity to lay certain information before the Department.
The Chairman then called upon Mr. Alex Leadbetter to open the discussion. Mr. Leadbetter outlined the purpose of the Organization which was to ascertain the facts relating to All Saints’ Hospital. He spoke of Canon Wilson’s part in building the hospital and raising the money to do so; the establishment of the Trust Fund of $260,000 which the hospital enjoys; of the legal position of the Hospital Board and pointed out there was nothing today to show who owned All Saints Hospital and he felt the citizens should know definitely who did own it. To secure that information it was purposed to form a Protective Association.
Mr. William Graven asked the speaker who was supposed to own the hospital while Canon Wilson was alive. Mr. Leadbetter replied that no provision was made regarding ownership after Canon Wilson’s death.
Dr. Sproule pointed out to the meeting that no Chairman had been elected and Miss Smith replied that the committee had put her in the chair. She added that no meeting would have been called had their committee not gone ahead.
Mr. Howard Tattrie said that the Citizens’ Committee had not reported in a year and Mr. Calvin Ward said that was the reason for the meeting.
Mr. Ward then presented a previously prepared resolution calling for the forming of a Citizens’ Protective Association. This was seconded by Mr. Murray Beaton.
Mrs. Edward Nicholson wanted to know what the citizens had to protect themselves against and why. Mr. Joseph Moss spoke along the same line and said he didn’t like protective associations.
Mr. C.J. Allbon congratulated the group on getting such a splendid meeting together and suggested the citizens had to come to hear a report on the hospital. In view of this he thought the meeting should resolve itself into a meeting to hear a report from the citizens’ committee and their lawyer Mr. James O. Fairbanks and that Dr. Sproule take the chair. After Mr. Ward’s motion was defeated a motion to this effect was offered and carried.
Miss Smith was complimented on her work as chairman as she handed the gavel over to the new chairman.
On motion Mr. Fairbanks was asked to explain to the meeting the steps leading up to the hospital act. He gave a clear outline of the proceedings, pointing out the legal position of the hospital from the time of its incorporation to the present day. He felt that the new Act was in the interest of both parties and felt that the citizens made a great mistake when they turned down the proposition which had been agreed upon. He pointed out that the Endowment Fund could be retained here only through the continuation of All Saints Hospital and urged that the Town Council call for another vote.
Regarding the financing of the institution Mr. Fairbanks pointed out that the control lay in the hands of the Town Council. The Hospital management would have the power to overspend up to $5,000 on current account and had borrowing power of an additional $10,000 without going to the citizens, who would be responsible for the debts created by the Institution.
The situation was further clarified as Mr. Fairbanks answered some questions asked by Deputy Mayor Wm. Noiles, who is a member of the hospital board.
After a few brief questions Mr. Arthur Phillips moved and Mr. Harry Fox seconded a motion that the citizens request the Town Council to place this question before the ratepayers again. The motion won almost unanimous support.
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.