Mega hospital campaign aims to show province there's public support for project

Friday, June 5, 2020

CBC Windsor


WE can't Wait campaign launched by WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation

A new local campaign is meant to show the province there's support for a new mega hospital in Windsor.

The WE Can't Wait project being led by the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation (WEEDC) will use local voices to show the importance of having a modern hospital.

"It's not a secret that when the province came out with their capital budget long-term plan, our project had been bumped out of the next five-year window, and we've been leapfrogged by a number of other hospital projects like this," said WEEDC CEO Stephen MacKenzie. 

"That's the wrong direction. We have to put this back in the right direction."

According to a media release, the campaign will deliver messages of support from community leaders in Windsor-Essex including front-line medical staff, business owners, community organizations and labour organizations. 

MacKenzie said the WE Can't Wait campaign has a budget in the "low six figures," but wouldn't give an exact cost. 

He said the hospital project is certainly about public health, but is also important to the region's economy.

The project aims to show the province there's support for a new hospital, which has taken years for approvals and still requires the provincial government to release money for the next step. 

The decision on the site of new hospital — near the Windsor International Airport — is in a lengthy appeals process before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. 

Much of the public opposition to the new hospital project has come from the group Citizens for an Accountable Megahospital Planning Process (CAMPP) who are not opposed to the project but its location, near the southern border of the city on County Road 42.

The primary argument of the group has been that the southern location is too far removed from the core of the city. CAMPP spokesperson Philippa Von Ziegenweidt said the location will not be helpful in attracting specialized doctors to the region.

"A hospital out in the middle of nowhere — because that's essentially where it is right now — is not going to be conducive to the quality of life of a new physician," she said 

She said there needs to be amenities where people live and work and that "we need to build an attractive city." 

"I don't think this is a strategy that's going to make Windsor an attractive place to live."