New Windsor-Essex mega-hospital to be built near airport
A proposed mega-hospital for Windsor-Essex is going to be built near the Windsor airport.
David Musyj, the president of Windsor Regional Hospital, confirmed to CBC News that it will be "in the neighbourhood" of County Road 42 and the 9th Concession, near the airport.
Speaking to CBC Radio's Windsor Morning on Wednesday, Musyj would not reveal the exact location. But he said that will be made public tomorrow.
"This is so much more than just a new hospital site, this is truly reforming health care in Windsor-Essex for decades to come," he said.
"The new hospital site, although it's a big announcement, is just one piece of four to five announcements that are going to be made that particular day."
The provincial government has still not given final approval to the mega-hospital.
Musyj was asked what implications the location of the new hospital could have for the former Salvation Army Grace hospital site, which is currently vacant.
The hospital executive told Windsor Morning that the Grace site will be turned into an urgent-care centre, which will give patients a place to go if they are seeking treatment for an ailment that would see them discharged from an emergency room anyway.
"It's run by the acute-care hospital, it's staffed by emergency room physicians and emergency room nurses and it's been very successful in other jurisdictions that have it, to reduce hospital ER wait times, support the hospital ER and give an alternative to patients to attend, who have in their minds, clearly a serious injury, but not something like a stroke or a heart attack, but maybe they a broken arm, maybe they have a laceration, maybe they have some respiratory issues," said Musyj.
"It's being able to be seen, very quickly, very efficiently by an ER staff and go home."
Muysj said that establishing an urgent-care centre at the Grace site allows those services to be available to downtown residents and for it to be "up and running before or the day the new acute-care hospital opens."
Once the mega-hospital is built, Windsor Regional Hospital's Met Campus on Tecumseh Road East, near Walker Road, will close, empty and be razed.
The City of Windsor will then own the Met Campus property, giving Windsor Regional Hospital the former Grace Hospital site in exchange, a spokeswoman in Mayor Drew Dilkens' office said.
Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield told CBC News that he believed the location for the mega-hospital seemed to be trying to bridge the demands of people in Windsor and the county.
"The people in the county wanted it in the county, the people in the city wanted it in the city, so this is as close to both as you can get, because you're only one concession away from being in the county," he said in a phone interview.
Essex County Warden Tom Bain said he was pleased with the location for the proposed new hospital.
"I think putting it on the border between the two is going to allow easier access for the country residents and for the city residents," he told CBC News in an interview on Wednesday.
"You can't look at it as one or the other, I think you have to look at it as a population of almost 400,000 people and how do you serve those people the best."
Coun. Hilary Payne, who represents Ward 9, which includes the land where the mega-hospital would be built, was likewise pleased by the choice of location.
"I think it's the perfect location between the city and the county," said Payne, noting that it has the space to house it and will not be enveloped by other buildings because of its proximity to the airport.
Shane Mitchell, a member of the Citizens for an Accountable Megahospital Planning Process, said his group was "disappointed" to learn that the mega-hospital, as proposed, will be built much further from central Windsor than they preferred.
"This location proposed is about 17 kilometres from our current downtown, up to 15 kilometres from one of the existing hospitals that we have ... and it's far from any developed neighbourhoods, commercial areas and it's within an existing agricultural area," he told CBC News after the approximate location of the new hospital began to leak out.
Hatfield said the key point is that the project moves ahead.
"I'm just glad that we're at this stage and it seems that we're moving forward because we really do need better facilities," he said. "And to me, it doesn't matter so much where they are as the fact that we have an opportunity now to get better facilities for better treatment for the people in Windsor and Essex County."
With files from Radio-Canada's Andreanne Baribeau and the CBC's Dale Molnar