Windsor

After hours of debate, Windsor council votes to push province to prioritize mega-hospital

Windsor city council has voted seven to four in favour of a controversial 'mega hospital' project and to ask the province for prioritized funding.

Council voted 7 to 4 in favour of seeking prioritized funding from the province

City Council has voted seven to four in favour of seeking provincial funding for a new mega-hospital, which will be built on land at the southeast corner of County Road 42 and Concession Road 9. (Jason Viau/CBC)

Windsor city council has voted seven to four in favour of seeking prioritized provincial funding for a controversial mega-hospital project.

The motion was moved by Mayor Drew Dilkens and was debated for hours by council, who heard from dozens of Windsorites both for and against the project. Council is seeking $2 billion in funding.

Dilkens, along with councillors Fred Francis, Ed Sleiman, Jo-Anne Gignac, Jeewen Gill, Gary Kaschak and Jim Morrison voted in favour of the motion. Meanwhile, councillors Chris Holt, Fabio Costante, Kieran McKenzie and Rino Bortolin voted against it.

While there was agreement about the need for new hospital infrastructure, the proposed hospital's location away from the downtown core has been controversial.

Princess Doe, a University of Windsor law student, told city council that she feels BIPOC and low-income people did not get enough input into the hospital's location.

"If these communities had been meaningfully consulted then ... you would know that for families living in Sandwich Town that cannot afford a car, they would question why the City of Windsor would choose to create ever more inequality by moving critical health services to an area where there is no viable transit," she said.

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

Beth Ann Price, the President of the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation, told council that she believes the new hospital is essential when one considers the aging infrastructure in other WRH facilities.

"As some of you may have experienced personally, or by visiting family members in the hospital, the rooms are small, the hallways are tight, the ceilings are low," she said. "It is not an environment that allows hospital staff to reach their true potential when it comes to patient care."

Last month, Windsor Regional Hospital acquired 60 acres of land at County Rd. 42 and Concession Rd. 9 across from Windsor International Airport for the new acute care hospital.

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