Mega-hospital project takes major step

Windsor Regional Hospital announces that purchase of land from the Lafferty family for the new acute care hospital, October 16, 2020. Photo submitted by Windsor Regional Hospital.

Windsor Regional Hospital has made a huge stride toward making the new acute-care hospital a reality.

Hospital officials announced Friday morning that the hospital had officially acquired the land the new facility will sit on, at the corner of Highway 42 and the 9th Concession Road.

The land purchase is the culmination of a site selection process that began in 2015 but has been lengthened by a budget process, approval by the Ontario Ministry of Health, and legal challenges from residents opposed to the location. Windsor City Council had approved rezoning for the land in August 2018.

David Musyj, president and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, told Blackburn News that the purchase of the land is a massive, long-overdue step.

“It’s huge,” said Musyj. “It goes on the heels of not only City Council’s decision with respect to the secondary plan and the zoning, but LPAT’s decision, and the Divisional Court decision which said there was no merit to the appeal.”

The 60-acre chunk of land will officially transfer to WRH at the price of $100,000 per acre, or $6 million, as indicated through the procurement process. The land was owned by the O’Keefe family, who allowed their friends, the Lafferty family, to operate a corn stand at the corner of the property since 1976.

Now that the land belongs to the hospital, Stage 2 of the planning process will begin as soon as funding is provided from the provincial government. Musyj said with the time needed for Stage 2 to be completed, time was of the essence, yet it was important to make sure everything was in place.

“It’s going to take about 18 months to 24 months to complete, and that’s where clinical teams, and our community, puts into words not only what they want to see at the new acute-care hospital, but also what they want to see downtown at the Ouellette Campus,” said Musyj.

Premier Doug Ford had called the mega-hospital project the region’s number-one infrastructure and health care priority.