County reaffirms support of mega-hospital location



By Ron Giofu


Though there are concerns and appeals from a group out of Windsor regarding the location of the new mega-hospital, Essex County council remains firm in its support of the site.

The group known as Citizens for an Accountable Mega-Hospital Planning Process (CAMPP) is appealing the decision by Windsor to rezone about 1,000 acres of land at the corner of County Road 42 and Concession 9 to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and has hired planner Jennifer Keesmaat and lawyer Eric Gillespie out of Toronto to further its cause.

Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche addressed the matter at Essex County council last Wednesday night, noting that he received calls from residents concerned about the matter. Meloche said there are those concerned about the process being upended and wondered if the county would counteract the measures taken by CAMPP.

“There are residents wondering about it getting delayed or derailed because of these efforts,” said Meloche.

Meloche said there are many residents in favour of the new hospital and said Toronto has received the “Lion’s share with respect to new hospital funding. It’s our turn.”

The Windsor-Essex County region deserves a new hospital, Meloche added, and that there are also concerns that appeals send the wrong message to other parts of the province.

“We don’t need the negativity because it does send a message to the powers-that-be in Toronto that we don’t have our ducks in a row or that we’re not all in agreement. That is not the case. This area is committed to a new hospital,” he said.

Meloche added the message needs to be conveyed that not only is Essex County is not only in support, but is supporting the mega-hospital project financially. Essex County putting money aside annually to fund its $100 million commitment.

Warden Gary McNamara called for people to rally around the new hospital and its location.

“At the end of the day, there was a process,” McNamara said of the site selection.

The warden pointed out there were 12 sites evaluated around the region, and also pointed out the county has agreed to fund $100 million of the cost.

“This is a building to serve our region when it comes to acute care,” said McNamara.

There will still be hospital services in the downtown core of Windsor, he added. McNamara called for residents to get behind the new hospital and its chosen location.

“The decision has been made. It was fair and square,” he said. “Don’t give the government an excuse not to invest in this area. It’s time we put this behind us, rally behind it and get this built. We need a world class facility to take care of our residents.”

McNamara added the planned expansion of County Road 42 has been on the county’s books since 2003, long before the hospital process started.

“We need to do it because it’s a reality. The traffic capacity has to be improved,” he said.

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