Prince Edward County dairy farmers contribute $18,000 to Back the Build campaign

MILKING SUPPORT- Prince Edward County dairy producers and Hospital Foundation members joined together on Friday to announced an $18,000 contribution by a group of local dairy farmers to the Back the Build campaign for the redevelopment of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)



The redevelopment of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital is a building project on the ‘moo-ve’ thanks to a donation from some community-minded dairy producers.

A group of Prince Edward County dairy farmers gathered at Huff Estates Winery on Friday afternoon to present the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation with a cheque for $18,000 (and counting) to be added to the ‘Back the Build’ campaign.

Joined by an excellent example of a Holstein dairy cow named Talina from Prinsville Farms in Bloomfield, a number of dairy farming families met with foundation members and supporters just outside Oneo Gallery to make a formal cheque presentation.

The presentation was an poignant one for Foundation Chair Monica Alyea who herself  grew up on a dairy farm in Hillier and was involved in 4-H for a number of years in Prince Edward County.

The chair spied a few Prince Edward County 4-H Association members at the presentation and reminded them they were putting the pledge into practice on Friday by “putting their hands to greater service.”

Hospitals are a very important part of farms because it’s a hazardous occupation for the entire family and it’s really exceptional that the dairy farmers in Prince Edward County are not just stepping up and providing food but they recognize that we need this hospital to be sure we have the services we need in this county,” Alyea said.

Spearheaded by Gilead Rd. Dairy producers Phil and Selena Prinzen, the initiative to contribute a significant amount of funds to the local hospital redevelopment project was a way for a dozen and half (and counting) local milk producers to say thanks to a caring community that stays committed to buying products with the little blue cow logo on it that signals it’s a Canadian Dairy product.

We’ve been through a lot over the past three years through all the trade negotiations and this was a small way we could give back to this great community in return for supporting us and continuing to buy Canadian diary products,” Phil Prinzen said. “Lord willing none of us will ever need that hospital in an emergency situation but we all do work in hazardous careers we all have kids that are coming into the industry and if that hospital is not there dairy farmers aren’t going to be here and our community is not going to be here.”

The first stage of the five-stage planning process for the new hospital set by the Ministry of Health was approved last February. The stage two plan is being finalized, outlining operational needs and space requirements for the new facility.

The proposal focuses on the same services in a better space with the highest standards of infection control. Most inpatient rooms will have a private washroom. The emergency department will include more private and flexible facilities. It will be built to handle everything from fish hooks to cardiac events.

In total, the Back the Build campaign seeks to accumulate $16 million which includes the community’s portion of the bricks and mortar building ($12.7 million) as well as outfitting the redeveloped facility with new equipment that will replace medical capital expenditures that are either too old or can’t be removed from the current facility ($3 million)

Currently, the campaign has received around $10.5 million of its $16 million goal through donations or written pledges.

A redeveloped PECMH is expected to open its doors in 2025.

“The Dairy Producers gift to Back the Build is ‘udderly’ fantastic,” said Shannon Coull, executive director of the Foundation. ” There are no words to describe how grateful we are to our local dairy farmers for their incredibly generous donation. This gift will go a long way in helping us achieve our goal of building a new, state-of-the-art hospital for every person who lives in or visits our County.”

An early ‘Dairy Christmas’ present from community minded producers help illustrate that any group from any sector in Prince Edward County can get together and support a project of significant importance that impacts the lives of ever citizen living and working and visiting this island.

“Gifts from local groups, like the Dairy Producers, speak to the importance of community involvement and the impact that it has on the quality of care for those residing and visiting our County and who use our hospital. We are so thankful for the Dairy Farmers’ support and interest in the future of our hospital,” added Coull.