BlackburnNews.com file photo of Essex County Warden Tom Bain, left, and Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens at site of proposed mega-hospital, July 16, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

UPDATE: Provincial Budget Includes Cash For Hospital Construction

The CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital is ecstatic the provincial budget includes money to build a new acute care hospital in Windsor.

“The if is gone. It’s now just a matter of when,” says David Musyj calling the budget announcement “like Christmas in April.”

The local project will share $9-billion for new hospital construction with a new hospital in the Niagara region and renovation projects at three other hospitals across Ontario.

Musyj was not alone in his excitement. Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens was quick to react on Twitter.

While Dilkens speculated earlier the budget would include the funding to build the new facility on County Rd. 42, Musyj was more reserved. Even when he was called to Toronto to sit in budget lockup, he was unsure if the money would be coming.

The proposed mega-hospital site at County Rd. 42 and Ninth Concession Rd., July 16, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

The proposed mega-hospital site at County Rd. 42 and Ninth Concession Rd., July 16, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

“We have other things on the go that we thought ‘well, could it be that?'” he says.

Now the real work starts. Musyj says there will be meetings with officials at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and with the Erie St. Clair LHIN. Contracts will have to be signed. A consultant will have to be hired to help health officials navigate the next stages of the process.

“If you wanted to compare the work we’ve done in the past five years, this will be ten times the amount of work,” he says.

Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo is also thrilled the budget included funding to build the new hospital, but he wishes the government left something under the tree for the auto industry.

“Especially listening to [U.S. President] Donald Trump talk about renegotiating or scrapping NAFTA,” says Chiodo. “We’ve gotta have a government that’s more vigilant.

A look inside Windsors Chrysler Assembly Plant, February 9, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

A look inside Windsors Chrysler Assembly Plant, February 9, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

The federal government is chiefly responsible for international trade, but Chiodo says with the bulk of auto manufacturing in Ontario, and parts sometimes crossing the border six times before they are installed in a finished vehicle, Queen’s Park can not afford to let Ottawa take care of it alone.

He points to recent turns this week for the softwood lumber and dairy industries and admits he is afraid the U.S. president will target auto parts manufacturers as well as large producers next.

“We are an economic stimulus,” says Chiodo. “It’s very concerning.”