Government commitment encouraging for Windsor Regional Hospital

Windsor Regional Hospital Metropolitan Campus, February 1, 2018. Blackburn News file photo.

There is some encouraging news for the planned acute-care hospital in Windsor-Essex.

The hospital, currently zoned along Highway 42 near Windsor Airport, is on a list of 32 capital projects put out this week by Infrastructure Ontario, the Crown corporation that oversees such projects across the province. The 32 plans are on the government’s Fall 2019 Market Update, which includes public hospitals.

The news is encouraging for Windsor Regional Hospital President and CEO David Musyj, who has been seeking a continued seal-of-approval from the province.

“The inclusion of WRH on the list of Infrastructure Ontario projects on its Fall 2019 Market Update is positive news for our community,” said Musyj in a news release. “It reaffirms the Government of Ontario’s commitment to our proposed new facility, and we are excited to get moving on this vital and ambitious development for our region.”

Musyj told last week that the hospital was hoping to get a sum of $9 million from the province to complete the work required by Stage 2 of the project. In his statement, he said the hospital is working closely with the province to make it happen. But, he does not expect construction to begin for at least another three years.

“We continue to work with the Ministry of Health to receive funding for Stage 2 of this five-stage process, which is required to be followed for all such projects of this size and scope,” said Musyj. “In addition, as anticipated, we are currently in the ‘pre-procurement’ stage, and it is vital that our community continues to strongly advocate for this project to receive the necessary funding required to move ahead.”

Support in favour of the hospital site has been growing in recent days, with grassroots groups like 42-Forward doing petition drives and distributing lawn signs. Musyj is hopeful that widespread community support will make the hospital happen sooner rather than later.

“Together, we are confident that if we remain focused and speak as one strong voice for our region, we will bring this project to reality and replace the significantly ageing hospital infrastructure we have today with state-of-the-art facilities we can be proud of for many years to come,” said Musyj.

The group CAMPP (Citizens for an Accountable Mega-hospital Planning Process) is appealing the city of Windsor’s decision to zone the Highway 42 land for the hospital. The group said that the site is too far from Windsor’s vulnerable population and that the city used inaccurate and outdated data to justify their vote. CAMPP will appear before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) over three days next month at Windsor City Hall.