Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation wades into mega hospital debate, launches campaign

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

CTV Windsor


WINDSOR, ONT. -- A new player is lending its voice to the ongoing mega hospital discussions.

The Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation has launched a new campaign to showcase local support for the project to decision makers at Queen’s Park.

They’re calling the campaign: “We can’t wait.

The taxpayer-funded agency made the campaign public today and is hoping to mobilize what it calls the “silent majority” of Windsor-Essex residents who support the proposed location of the new acute-care hospital on County Road 42.

The goal is to launch an advocacy journey by signing up supporters and gaining followers to prove to the province that it’s time to fund the next stage of the hospital system plan.

According to sources close to the project, the campaign will be driven through social media to create an “advocacy pipeline” to showcase what they believe is overwhelming support for the project — and hope that message is loud and clear to top decision-makers at Queen’s Park. For that reason, the sources believe public participation in the campaign will be a critical metric to move the project forward.

WEEDC is getting involved because the project is expected to create thousands of jobs — not just in the short-term through construction, but also long-term, because the city will be a more attractive destination for investment with an improved healthcare system, the sources say.

The next stage of the process is securing $9 million in funding from the Ministry of Health for functional planning of the new facility.

The proposed location, first unveiled in July 2015, has been a lightning rod of criticism for advocacy group Citizens for an Accountable Mega hospitals Planning Process (CAMPP). The grassroots organization has lobbied against the location at Cty. Rd 42 and Concession Road 9 (near Windsor’s airport) since it was announced, arguing it promotes urban sprawl, is inaccessible to many people who rely on public transit and goes against both city and provincial planning documents.

Windsor City Council officially rezoned the lands required for the project in 2018. CAMPP appealed that decision through a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, but it was dismissed. The group has since appealed that decision to the divisional court and awaits a ruling in the case.

More to come...