Upcoming year pivotal for new mega hospital as planning continues: Dilkens

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The mayor of Windsor says 2022 is going to be a huge year for the region's new acute care hospital as the project heads into the planning phases.

As heard on AM800 in October, the province has committed $9.8-million to keep the project at County Rd. 42 and the 9th Concession moving forward.

Drew Dilkens says years of hard work are finally paying off.

"After years and years and years of working on this, we finally got the funding to move this project to Stage 2. This is the stage where we finally move from if we get a new hospital to, now, when we get a new hospital."

He says public consultation will be a major part of the planning steps.

"Lots of work to do. There's lots of community consultation to be had. The goal is that the functional plan by, say, this time next year, that it's ready to be submitted to the Ontario government and the goal is to sort of get money, get a lot of money booked in the budget in 2023 and in future years."

Dilkens says, as the pandemic rages on, it's become more clear just how important a new hospital is.

"The pandemic has helped highlight the importance recognizing that we still have rooms in Windsor where there is a ward room with five beds and the washroom is down the hall. So the new hospital will have 80% of the rooms that are single rooms."

Stage 2 planning for the new $2-billion hospital is expected to take 18 to 24 months.

There's no word yet as to when construction will begin.

— with files from AM800's Rusty Thomson