Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, officially announces the new Windsor-Essex mega hospital at Windsor Regional Hospitals Ouellette campus on December 1, 2017. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Windsor-Essex Mega Hospital Is A Go

A new hospital for the Windsor-Essex region is moving forward.

Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s minister of Health and Long-Term Care, joined local politicians and health care administrators Friday to announce that the province has fully committed to the building of the region’s new mega-hospital.

The announcement was made in front of a packed lobby at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette campus.

With the site for the new hospital already a done deal on Hwy. 42 near Windsor Airport, the province’s focus was on securing and planning the funding for the hospital project. The entireĀ development is estimated to cost about $2-billion.

Windsor and all Essex County municipalities approved a 1% property tax hike last year to cover $200-million of the price tag.

Hoskins also announced that an urgent-care facility will be operational in the city of Windsor and remain so once the new hospital is ready. However, it has not yet been determined whether that facility will remain at the Ouellette campus or if it will continue at the yet-to-be-built facility on the former Grace campus.

In the meantime, the hospital steering committee has agreed to look into continuing some day surgery and urgent care at the Ouellette campus, with the move to the Grace site part of the long-term plan.

With phase one of the project complete, Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj says they move on to the next segment of the plan, which is laying out the logistics for the potential architects to build the mega-hospital around.

“First you put into words what every single program is going to look like, the way it’s going to be staffed, the way it’s going to be physically laid out,” says Musyj. “You pick all that work up, you hand it over to the architects in stage three, and say ‘Now you design a hospital.'”

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens was among the dignitaries present at the announcement. He says the city is completely on board and with the site chosen, there will be some rezoning issues to iron out.

“There’s still the rezoning process that we have to move through,” says Dilkens. “I know the hospital is working on that process and it will come to city council. We’ll have to review and make sure everything makes sense from a planning perspective, but they’re doing all their due diligence now.”

Dilkens says city council will be ready to look at the re-zoning in spring 2018.

Once it is complete, the hospital is expected to replace current facilities that are aging and getting cramped, as well as keep acute care patients in one complex. The mega hospital is also expected to nurture education and research in order to recruit new health care providers.

The new facility will be designed to help an area with over 400,000 people.

The plan did not go completely without controversy, however. Groups such as theĀ Citizens for an Accountable Megahospital Planning Process (CAMPP) had been urging officials to re-think the site selection process, though they are not opposed to a new hospital. Some of the group’s members, wearing red t-shirts, sat silently at the press conference.

Musyj had encouraged group members this spring to bring their hospital ideas to the table, where they would be welcomed, and stop fighting the process.

Frequently asked questions about the advancement of the hospital process can be found by clicking here.