Essex County Council to Push Harder for New Regional Hospital

Essex County Council has voted unanimously to push harder when it comes to a new regional hospital for Windsor-Essex.

Part of that push will come in the form of a letter to the province, stating the county and the city of Windsor both have their $100-million share of cash ready to go — a 50/50 split of the 10% or $200-million needed to green light the project.

That's on top of having the environmental assessment finished for land for the hospital on County Rd. 42 at the 9th Concession, not far from Windsor Airport.

It's the latest shot fired in the ongoing dispute with Citizens for an Accountable Mega-hospital Planning Process or CAMPP.

The group is bringing their argument to build the hospital deeper into the city to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

Half the region's population lives in Essex County — but County Warden Gary McNamara says CAMPP continues to push the conversation towards what downtown Windsor needs instead of what Essex County needs.

He says the loudest voices are drowning out some important facts and Essex County isn't going to take it lying down anymore.

"A bigger push from county council and certainly the lower tier municipalities. I know Mayor [Drew] Dilkens has been very vocal as well and we certainly support that. I think you're going to start seeing a little more push from us," he says.

McNamara says opposition continues to spin what's most important, getting the hospital built for everyone.

"They need to know that there are almost 200,000 people living in the county that deserve a first class 21st Century hospital and access to it," he says.

"Why are we arguing about where the bricks and mortar should be? Let's worry about taking care of the patients for today and in the future."

With two Windsor hospitals set to be repurposed for things like mental health services, McNamara says claims something is leaving downtown Windsor are being used to spur public opinion.

He says an emergency care centre will also remain in the downtown core.

"Is Windsor prepared to put $200-million into the hospital and keep it downtown? Where are you going to get 60-acres of land downtown? They keep referring to Met and Hôtel-Dieu, well, Hôtel-Dieu campus isn't going anywhere," says McNamara.

Council will also work on a plan to get information out to the public, but McNamara say those details will be worked out at a later date.