As the battle continues over the location of the new mega hospital, opponents are highlighting a decade old report about the future of health care in Essex County.
The group, Citizens for an Accountable Mega Hospital Planning Process (CAMPP) questioned the future of Erie Shores Health Care in Leamington in a newsletter issued last month.
It highlights a study done in 2009 by HayGroup, consultants to the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). It outlines different factors that would make the Leamington hospital emergency room
"less viable in the future."
The newsletter also asks whether a mega hospital would lead to service cuts in Leamington and points out the hospital cut its obstetrics unit in 2015 before reversing its decision. The hospital also finished fiscal 2019 with a $1.3 million deficit.
CAMPP spokesperson Philippa von Ziegenweidt says their newsletter is a proactive initiative to identify options for addressing sustainability challenges in Leamington.
"I'm not saying they're going to close Leamington by any means but in the report they identify the possibility of reducing the ER to an urgent care centre, and in Windsor, they're talking about converting Ouellette campus to an urgent care," notes von Ziegenweidt. "That's a hospital that serves close to 100,000 people and it's in direct vicinity so it's not a stretch to say that they might be doing the same thing in Leamington."
The new $2 billion dollar single-site acute care hospital is proposed to be built at County Road 42 and Concession 9 near the airport.
CAMPP has launched an appeal of the city's re-zoning of the land needed to allow the hospital to be built on the site. The group has argued that development would encourage urban sprawl and is advocating for the new hospital to be located closer to the core.
A date has not been set yet for the full oral hearing before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
Von Ziegenweidt suggests money could be better spent on improving the hospital in Leamington, and not just in Wndsor, especially since the Ontario Conservative government is always looking at budget reductions and efficiencies.
Windsor and Essex County mayors meanwhile sent a letter to the provincial government and Premier Doug Ford in June, suggesting all local municipalities fully support a new mega hospital.
Officials with Erie Shores Health Care tell CTV News they will respond to CAMPP's comments on Wednesday.