The forum will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Westisle gymnasium.
“It doesn’t matter,“ said Natasha Dunn. “We still need to meet as a community.”
Dunn said the meeting is a result of an outpouring of requests from residents seeking a public airing of concerns.
Many of those concerns have been expressed through a “Keep Western Hospital Open” Facebook page that Dunn created on Jan. 4. Within a week, the page had close to 3,300 members. Several members gave personal testimonials explaining how Western Hospital’s emergency department saved their lives or lives of loved ones and expressed fears for West Prince if the emergency department closes.
Concerns were heightened by a government announcement at the start of the month that there are 12 time slots in January when the emergency department would be closed due to lack of physician coverage.
Dunn said there will be planned presentations during the forum, but mostly open microphone. She said there are many people who have things to say.
“We will be recording all the comments, compiling them,” said Dunn, adding that a committee will present all comments to government at a later date.
They will also be presenting government with a petition, which will be available to sign during the forum and for a period of time afterwards.
“We’re encouraging people to come out and sign it that night,” said Dunn, who is anticipating a large crowd. “There are people coming up to me in the streets and saying ‘yep, we’ll be there,’ and they’re planning on taking their whole families. They’re making sure that they want to be well heard.”