Ten years ago, just after my first election in 2003, before I even had my staff hired and constituency office open, parents of kids with autism began to visit me, telling tales of how their child’s developmental challenges consumed their family’s every single day. Early in the government’s first mandate (2003-07), Ontario expanded its support of IBI and ABA procedures many fold, which addressed the immediate issue. The important issue was that ErinoakKids had sprawled into ten divided centres, and faced access and adequacy issues. As Ontario’s largest children’s treatment centre, Mississauga, Brampton and Oakville needed a new ErinoakKids centre.
That each city would get a new, state-of-the-art centre was announced in spring 2011. On Friday September 27th, at the Living Arts Centre, ErinoakKids unveiled the location of the new Mississauga ErinoakKids centre. It will be near the intersection of Burnhamthorpe Road West and Central Parkway West in central Mississauga. ErinoakKids will consolidate its current patchwork of mostly leased and retrofitted office and commercial spaces — long since outgrown — into three sites designed specifically for the care of children and youth with disabilities and special needs. The ErinoakKids project is the largest in Ontario history, and is the first multi-site project for a Children’s Treatment Centre in the Province.
The new Mississauga facility will be approximately 93,000 square feet and situated on 6 acres right near the Erindale GO station.
In 2007, at a ceremony when ErinoakKids adopted its new name, I pledged to work with them to get that centre built, and talked about it at the doors that year and in 2011. It is a promise made, and a promise kept!
You can see more details about the project at the ErinoakKids web site. You can even contribute to the foundation and help put state-of-the-art developmental services equipment on the floor to help kids on the ErinoakKids web site.
The new ErinoakKids Foundation (just started in 2009) went from a standing start to achieving its fund-raising targets for the capital money from Ontario. Brampton Springdale MPP Linda Jeffrey and I worked continuously on the project to have Ontario capital money allocated, and to get the project under way.
The announcement means that ErinoakKids can now go to tender, and get quotes for the project. From the day construction starts, probably sometime in the first half of 2014, the build time will be a bit more than two years. This means sometime in the middle of 2016, ErinoakKids will move to their Mississauga home.