GEM Properties drops injunction, won't stop sale of proposed hospital land

The O'Keefe family, one of the defendants in a $10-million lawsuit that alleges the selection process for the proposed $2-billion mega-hospital project was unfair, has been dismissed.

'We're in a very good spot,' Musyj says

Mary Jane O'Keefe, right, says she's relieved her family had been dismissed from the $10-million lawsuit regarding the site of the proposed mega-hospital. (Joana Draghici/CBC)

Windsor Regional Hospital officials say the injunction filed in an effort to stop a land sale for the proposed mega-hospital site has been dropped and the way ahead is clear for the project to continue.

"There's nothing about that lawsuit that prevents this process from going forward," said hospital CEO David Musyj. "That lawsuit is off to the side."

GEM Properties Inc., in court on Thursday, agreed to drop its injunction against the site of the $2-billion mega-hospital.

It is, however, planning to move forward with a $10-million lawsuit alleging the site selection process for the proposed hospital was unfair. GEM is suing the hospital for $10 million, according to the statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The owners of the property selected for the proposed new hospital — Michael and Mary Jane O'Keefe — were also named in the original statement of claim but were dismissed from it Thursday.

The mega-hospital is in the first stage of a five-step approval process. Had the injunction gone through, the hospital wouldn't have been able to move to stage two, Musyj said.

He said talks between the hospital and the province can begin wrapping up within the next two months. Notice on whether the hospital can move forward to stage two is expected in the spring or early summer.

Stage two brings $35 million from the province and the go-ahead to plan programming and design the new hospital in detail.

"We just moved slightly ahead of the pack. We're in a very good spot," Musyj said. "Yesterday, we weren't in a good spot."

Speaking outside court Thursday, a lawyer for the O'Keefe's said her clients are relieved and wish to move forward.  

"GEM Properties, to its credit, is no longer advancing its claim for an injunction," Sharon Strosberg said. "They're no longer opposing the completion of the agreement of purchase and sale of the property owned by Michael O'Keefe Farms."

GEM's land, located near Lauzon Parkway and Tecumseh Road E., was heavily favoured to be the site of the new hospital after the first phase of selection, but the final decision came down to price, Musyj said.

Instead, land owned by the O'Keefe family on Country Road 42, near the Windsor International Airport, was selected.

With files from Joana Draghici and Alex Brockman