Windsor

Mega-hospital hearings set for October, neither side submitted issues list

Ontario's Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) will hold formal hearings over the County Road 42 mega-hospital between Oct. 8 and Oct. 10, 2019.

The Tribunal asked parties to file a consolidated issues list, agreed statement of facts and evidence

The new mega-hospital will stand 10 storeys tall and have 500 beds. (Windsor Regional Hospital Handout)

Ontario's Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) will hold formal hearings over the County Road 42 mega-hospital on Oct. 8, 2019.

In a decision published Aug. 9, 2019, the LPAT noted all involved parties failed to file a consolidates issues list, as well as an agreed statement of facts and evidence, within a timeframe previously outlined by the Tribunal.

The Tribunal added that both the City of Windsor and Windsor Regional Hospital asked the LPAT to direct Citizens for an Accountable Megahospital Planning Process (CAMPP) — a Windsor-Essex region group advocating against the construction of a new mega-hospital on County Road 42 and the group that filed the original appeal with the LPAT in January 2019— to submit a narrower issues list. 

"To that end, and to bring efficiency to these proceedings, the Tribunal directs CAMPP to bring focus to its issues list by specifying which policies, schedules and provisions are under appeal," reads an excerpt from the same Aug. 9 decision.

Read the LPAT's Aug. 9, 2019 decision below:

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CAMPP legal counsel Eric Gillespie said his organization already has a list of specific issues regarding its concerns about the mega-hospital, and will have no trouble meeting the LPAT's request.

"There is a list of the various policies and other legislative sections of the relevant parts of the legislation that is already prepared," said Gillepsie. "So it's actually going to be very straightforward for CAMPP to respond to the Tribunal on that issue."

The Tribunal has given CAMPP 30 days to file a revised issues list or "advise the Tribunal that it wishes to proceed with some or all of its issues."

The Tribunal said hearings should take no longer than three days.

CAMPP pleased with LPAT decision

Gillespie said that the Tribunal's decision "appears to be very favourable to all of the appellants," noting that the Tribunal's allotment of three hearing days is a positive sign that the province wants to hear as much evidence as is available.

"The hearing could have been completed in a day or less," said Gillespie. "If I remember correctly, the hospital and the city were both advocating for a very short hearing process. Obviously, the Tribunal is more comfortable looking into the issues in some detail, and our clients are very pleased about that."

Gillespie added the LPAT`s latest decision is a sign that the Tribunal is taking the appeal "very seriously."

As for the Tribunal's direction that CAMPP narrow the scope of its issues, Gillespie said that the LPAT's order makes it clear that "the focus is more in line with what our clients had been hoping."

"We know that we're operating under relatively new legislation that does require the parties to be more focused than perhaps they were at previous hearings of this nature," he said. "However because we're still in early days nobody has been entirely sure about what direction the Tribunal is going to go in, in terms of just how narrow or broad that new focus is going to be."

The new legislation to which Gillespie referred are changes made to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal as per Bill 108's royal assent on June 6, 2019.

According to Schedule 9 of Bill 108, the LPAT is now able to limit examination or cross-examination of witnesses. At the same time, Bill 108 altered the LPAT's case management regulations and restricted non-party submissions to written submissions. 

Windsor's deputy city solicitor Wira Vendrasco told CBC News the Tribunal's latest decision is straightforward, and the City is now preparing for October hearings on the mega-hospital issue. 

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