Brockton council hears about April 1 rally to support Chesley hospital

BROCKTON – The first questions from council were, “Would a letter of support from us help?” and “Where can we sign the petition?”

Hazel Pratt and Brenda Scott co-chair the Chesley Hospital Community Support Committee. Their presentation to council March 7 on the community action plan, including the April 1 rally at the Chesley Community Centre from 2-4 p.m., was well received. As more than one councillor noted, the hospital serves an area that includes parts of Brockton. And the community support groups that formed in both Walkerton and Chesley in the face of ER closures worked together to get service restored.

Pratt thanked council for the De Rosie report, and for support on the ongoing lack of ER service.

She and Scott noted the hospital in Chesley serves a unique community that includes Mennonite and Amish people who can’t easily access other hospitals for emergency room care. The hospital serves part of West Grey and areas of Brockton, as well as Arran-Elderslie.

Scott said the 12-person committee has organized the rally, which will welcome people from other communities who have experienced ER closures. The event will include speakers, as well as food and entertainment. The group has an online presence ( and will be putting up posters and lawn signs to draw attention to the rally.

“Closures and reduced services are not acceptable,” Scott said.

In addition to providing a community action plan, the committee is gathering signatures on a petition that will be sent to the provincial legislation.

“We’ve had enough,” Scott said. “We want to see some action.”

Coun. Kym Hutcheon asked about signing the petition, and if the committee wanted a letter of support from council.

Coun. Greg McLean thanked Pratt and Scott for their advocacy, noting, “If we do nothing, that’s what we get… There’s work to be done.”

Deputy Mayor James Lang thanked the group and noted that the situation affects Brockton. He noted the community has heard enough “excuses” about the lack of nurses.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times