File photo by Alec Ross,

Health Unit To Ask Courts About Move

Whether the Middlesex London Health Unit can move to a new location without the consent of its municipal partners is now a question for the courts.

Health unit officials announced on Wednesday they are filling an application in the Superior Court of Justice to see whether they require Middlesex County’s approval to move from 50 King St. to a leased space in Citi Plaza.

“We have pursued every possible course of action with our partners. Our process has been thorough, carefully considered, open, and transparent; all the while we have been focused on how to best serve the needs of our clients and communities,” said health board member Ian Peer.

While London city council has already backed the planned move, the Middlesex County council rejected the idea Tuesday night. Both councils give funding to the health unit.

Currently, the health unit leases office space at 50 King St. from the county, while also maintaining offices at 201 Queens Ave. in London and 51 Front St. E, in Strathroy. The health unit has been actively looking for another location for its headquarters since the county informed it of its intent to redevelop the King St. land. That redevelopment included a potential zoning amendment to allow development of a 28-storey mixed-use high-rise.

After a review of its current and future space requirements, which included public and partner consultations, health unit officials felt Citi Plaza met their needs. On January 15, the health unit entered into a letter of intent to lease approximately 68,930 sq ft within Citi Plaza at 355 Wellington St.

“We are excited about the possibilities that this new location provides for the Health Unit. Our chosen proposal provides the MLHU (Middlesex London Health Unit) with an excellent opportunity to serve our clients and community with a world-class business partner,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health.

The health unit’s legal team believes the public health agency has the authority to enter into a lease without the consent of the County of Middlesex.

It is hoped the issue will go before the courts in the coming months so that the health unit does not lose the leasing opportunity with Citi Plaza.