Rose City Politics asked all of the candidates running in the 2022 Windsor Election: Do you support the mega-hospital location?
Below are the responses from all of the candidates who answered the question. If there is no answer, it is because the candidate did not respond to the survey.
The only candidates who did not reply whatsoever include (incumbents and former councillors bolded) Drew Dilkens, Matthew Giancola, Ernie Lamont, Louis Vaupotic, Fred Francis, Helmi Charif, Angela Fitzpatrick, Cynthia Van Vrouwerff, Edy Haddad, Patrick Sutherland, Caitlyn Desmarais, Currie Soulliere, Jo-Anne Gignac, and Paul Borrelli
Each candidate with a photo and a link can be clicked on leading to the Rose City Politics 2022 Windsor Election Candidate Questionnaires.
- Ward 1
- Ward 2
- Ward 3
- Ward 4
- Ward 5
- Ward 6
- Ward 7
- Ward 8
- Ward 9
- Ward 10
The location of the hospital dose not affect me personally, as I do not have mobility issues.
Never the less it should have been placed in a central location. Once again we are making our elderly and mobile impaired citizens, travel long distances to utilize amenities. Its also not practical to have emergency vehicles rushing down our high traffic roads during rush hours. (Dougall, Howard Walker ect) Especially on the express way. Traveling at 100 m/h, its not easy for 2 lanes to just shuffle over, potentially causing delays if not accidents.
This is why we need at least a 24h emergency center.
I do see the potential, if staffed properly the hospital could bring people to our city. Much like how we now have to travel to the london hospital, for procedures we can’t currently get here. We must also keep in mind that ontario already has a medical staffing problem. Once Ford privatized health care, the private hospitals will pay more and poach most of our medical staff.
I am not a fan of the new hospital location.
However some things you must adapt to. Maybe it will give the city more motivation to upgrade our transit system. If we build or update our inner cities health services to the extent that our inner city is well taken care of, that issue could possibly fade away, leaving the mega hospital to focus on more specialized services.
Drew Dilkens (did not respond)
Matthew Giancola (did not respond)
I felt it was important to have this event to clearly articulate my real position on the hospital once and for all. Last week we heard from my opponent who continues to use the need for a new hospital as a political football. He’s used it now in every election, at every level. He continues to spout mistruths and misinformation at a scale that needs correction.
We all know the process that led us here today. It’s been one of the most intense and in depth debates and public discussions we’ve had municipally in our history. Unfortunately my opponent has been part of the side that has made this a very divisive and contentious issue in our community, and apparently continues to do so. The need for a new hospital is not, nor will it be, up for debate. It is completely agreed upon. The discussions that surrounded the location and the process in which the site was chosen did not need to pit residents against each other. My opponent seems to thrive off division, and will use it as a political tool at any time where he stands to benefit. That’s unacceptable. That’s not leadership.
My position on the site selection process and the location has been clear, and the reasons I have articulated in voting against this site still exist today as unaddressed issues we need to deal with as a community. But, as I have done in my two terms of council, I will and do respect the direction and the will of the people. Just as recently as three months ago we had a provincial election where area residents supported MPPs who ran on delivering this hospital and making it a reality. In this location. City Council has already approved the zoning change and the creation of a tax levy collecting our share of the municipal portion. I am here today to pledge to the residents of Windsor that I will not hold up or stand in the way of that funding being allocated to this project when needed.
Contrary to my opponent who called this “the perfect location” just last week, I know, as do tens of thousands of residents, this was not the perfect location, far from it. I, unlike my opponent, will not hide my head in the sand and pretend there are no issues tied to that decision. I am prepared for the work that needs to happen to make this hospital not only a reality but a success.
The main issues that we need to address as a community are as follows:
24hr ER and full services at the Ouellette campus of WRH starting from day one. Equity and access to health care for those who need it most has been one of the most egregious oversights of the plan as it stands today. I am glad my opponent has FINALLY pledged support for 24/7 ER services in the core. Remember, just three months ago he mocked and called out Provincial candidates who did the same. Along with Councilors Bortolin, Costante, Kaschak, and McKenzie, I have been steadfast in advocating for 24/7 ER services in the core. This shows that our work has not only paid off but has led the way in making sure Windsor residents get the services we deserve. Don’t we deserve that leadership in the Mayor’s office?
The second issue that needs attention is the expense and timing of the infrastructure needs in the surrounding area of the new Hospital. Sandwich South is a blank slate, with no infrastructure to handle such a huge investment along with the ancillary investments that will follow. During this time the City will also begin developing the Sandwich South lands for housing. What will all this new infrastructure cost? We actually have no idea. Back in September of 2021 I tabled a motion to have a third party consultant report back with a comprehensive outline of the cost and timelines of needed infrastructure work in the area of the new acute care hospital. That motion did not pass, with my opponent being the deciding vote against. He and the 5 councilors you saw flanking him last week all chose to disregard this concern and willfully ignore the true cost to Windsor taxpayers. Will the City collect much needed development charges from the Province for this hospital? Will the province or the county contribute their fair share to the immediate infrastructure needs to make this “regional” Hospital a success? Will there be a huge shift in capital priorities to ensure we can keep pace with these investments without cutting much needed road and sewer investments? We simply do not know. Why would we not want to know the full impact of this investment and properly prepare for it? My opponent was the deciding vote against. How much has that one vote cost us?
Today I wanted to set the record straight so the citizens of Windsor have a clear understanding of my position, directly from me. Not only will I not stand in the way of using our municipal levy to contribute to the hospital when called upon, I will strengthen the plan, with the following starting immediately if elected:
1. Create a community wide Health Services Table exploring not only 24/7 ER access in the core but many other services that will be important to the communities who need them the most, with an emphasis on mental health and addictions. Agencies such as CMHA, HDGH, and the United Way will all be asked to contribute to this important conversation.
2. Establish a Sandwich South Infrastructure Task Force, comprised of residents, industry partners, city administration, and infrastructure engineers. The goal of this task force is to determine and cost out the infrastructure needs of the area as we begin construction of the new hospital in the greater context of the overall Sandwich South development.
3. Prioritize Nurse recruitment working with Invest Windsor Essex, Workforce Windsor Essex, St Clair College and The University of Windsor. This program will partner with WRH in continuing their efforts to attract talent to the Windsor area. We are in desperate need of nurses in our community.
4. Become a leader in advocating for investments in the mental health, addictions and long term care sectors. HDGH has space and infrastructure to open up more mental health beds immediately. HDGH also has the capacity to create much needed long term care beds. We know they are actively looking for space to invest and expand into this sector, as a City we need to support their bid and advocate on their behalf. We need to advocate for funding now. We currently have no formalized advocacy arm in the province working on mental health and addictions issues specifically, not at AMO or other formal municipal bodies. I pledge to lead this initiative across the province. Locally I will begin by adding 8 new outreach and mental health workers to our streets to work with Police and mental health agencies for improved access to service. While we have pledged support for the H4 centre we cannot wait 5+ years to begin work on this issue.
5. Prioritize all Transit Windsor routes that will access the new acute care hospital. Routes will begin before the doors open as construction workers and others in the area will need access as the project moves ahead. I will also work to create a special compassionate fare for family caregivers who will need to be at their families side for days at a time at the new facility.
6. Expedite the creation of a Climate Action and Energy Plan for the Sandwich South area. Our existing climate and energy plans currently do not include this area. This plan will include consultations with members of the public, local institutions, industry experts, researchers and our own administration. As we develop and move ahead with the clearing of greenspace and create more housing and services in Sandwich South we need to do so with our climate goals in mind. City Council has already endorsed a motion to create carbon neutral neighbourhoods in Sandwich South, we need to ensure development here is done properly. Health outcomes are tied in so many ways to our climate goals and actions. We cannot ignore those here.
So, to summarize, my opponent continues to spread misinformation and fear and wants to use the need for a new hospital as a political football for him to punt around. By contrast I am committing to you clearly that I will not stand in the way of the provincial plan to build a new hospital here. I will work with the province and the county to fulfill our financial obligation to the project. But I am not stopping there. I am pledging to the residents of Windsor that they deserve to know the full cost of this investment, financially and environmentally. I have a six point plan to address the gaps and prioritize the entire health and well being of our community.
I have always approached decisions at council with integrity and consistency. Residents of Windsor know that if I am making a pledge here today I will keep that promise and work with the province to make this not only a reality but a success. We need to approach this project with eyes wide open. This will be a generational investment that will need a proportional municipal investment to accommodate it here. We cannot hide our heads in the sand like my opponent continues to do and we cannot continue to politicize a project that needs to move forward and open its doors to the residents of Windsor Essex as soon as possible.
Ernie Lamont (did not respond)
Louis Vaupotic (did not respond)
Fred Francis (did not respond)
We need the new hospital badly. The location should not be up for debate at this point. I will work hard to secure funding from all levels to move the project forward quickly at the chosen site on County Road 42. However, the new hospital is years away and I think there is more that our municipality can do to improve access and quality of care now, not just in years from now when the hospital will be completed.
I voted against the location when this was debated at Council, not because I am against a new hospital. I am absolutely in favour of a new hospital; however, as a City Councillor, I have a duty to make decisions in the best interest of the City and within the jurisdiction of my office. When we take into account our infrastructure deficit, urban planning principles, climate change, the lack of information regarding the cost of displacing hospitals in the core, and much more, I couldn’t in good conscience support the relocation.
As a candidate I would follow the mandate given by my community to answer. As a resident, there seem to be issues location-wise. The main argument in favor that I encountered is the ease of access for people from the county. However, the suburban sprawl it will invite (instead of city densification) is a problem, if any local services are diminished or stopped because they’ve been relocated to the hospital, that’s a problem – we need to have good proximity services. Finally, a neighbor also pointed out that it would be more sensical to have the hospital closer to the U to facilitate teaching and research.
No! And that horse has already been beaten to death. Similar to the arena being built in the wrong location this too will haunt Windsor and Essex County for the next 100 years.
Yes, but only if we have at least one ambulance station parked in every Ward, ready to go 24/7/365.
I support active prevention,
Helmi Charif (did not respond)
Angela Fitzpatrick (did not respond)
No. The question will be whether the location is a fait accompli by the time of the next Council, and there’s many answers to that question. The biggest factor will be the overall composition of the next City Hall (councillors and mayor), a desire to ensure citizens downtown are adequately served.
The mega-hospital site is stupid
Cynthia Van Vrouwerff (did not respond)
I support ensuring Ward 3 maintains a hospital presence, as we have one of the lowest average income in the city, and closing our location leaves the city’s core population vulnerable.
If this is the location we will have in the future, plans need to be put in place so that Ward 3 residents without a vehicle can access urgent care easily, as well as the many services that the hospital provides. Happy about the location or not, we should be planning now for better transportation and bus services to that part of the city, as well as expanded services in the core so people aren’t traveling so far to access basic care
NO, not in this Century, maybe never. Without the hospital conducting flood studies and building out there, I doubt that area would get developed until the late 2000’s and probably by industrial developments.
I am a Proud CAMPP Member. I have been a VOCAL OPPONENT to the County Road 42 location since the day it was announced. I have appeared before Council on 3 different occasions.
The county road 42 location only addresses getting a new Hospital. It is in a flood-plain which is part of the reason that construction still hasn’t started it is surrounded by vacant farm fields and industrial lands, NOT NEAR PEOPLE.
If we build it at the 1st site selected (by the Serbian Centre), It may have been started by now, It would be near where people live now, It would be more accessible by many, It would lead to infilling of vacant lands in East Windsor, It would lead to the occupying of vacant buildings in East Windsor, It would be adjacent to infrastructure (roads, sewers, transit, active transit, hydro), saving millions, It could be accessed by the rail-line for commuters (East to Tilbury, West to Crawford), It could be accessed by the international rail-line tunnel attracting medical tourism from the USA. Imagine – RAIL (21st century thinking) – County Road 42 (1950s Failed planning strategies)
It amazes me that Mayor Dilkens can’t link how a streetcar was vital to Windsor’s growth in the 1900s and the value of rail today.
Edy Haddad (did not respond)
I regret that the mega-hospital location tears at the urban fabric. I could only support the ‘regional’ hospital imposed on us within the context of above mentioned regional government reform.
I was one of the first to support the new hospital in 2012 when I was President & CEO of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce and signed a letter in 2015 in support, with the understanding that there would be an urgent care centre at the former Grace Hospital site. In 2018, part of my campaign platform included advocating for 24/7 emergency care downtown.
People in the community worked hard to get the new Windsor/Essex Acute Care Hospital, and I recognize this. This is also an economic development tool for that could create a health sciences hub for the region.
I’m calling for a Community Improvement Plan for the Met hospital site so it doesn’t end up like the Grace site. We need maximum community engagement on what goes on the Met site and we need to ensure all promises on this are kept.
I don’t love the location, however I do believe that Windsor needs a new hospital. I will continue to fight for accessible health care in the city core and for 24 hour urgent care in multiple neighbourhoods. Windsor has gone from 4 hospitals with ER’s, down to 2, and soon to be 1. We deserve better, and I will continue to be an advocate for more health care options in the city.
First, I absolutely support Windsor’s 10% contribution to the funding for the mega hospital project and of course will advocate ensuring the hospital is funded and built on time.
Do I like the new site, no, but I didn’t like the GM or Walmart sites either because of limited local road access. I’ve seen the size and complexity of these buildings across Canada and they are islands not community-integrated facilities. In my opinion the ideal location would have been the Zalev property in a land swap that moves the metal recycling facility out of the core and into an industrial area closer to the 401. For a hospital, that Zalev site is a perfect location triangulated by 3 arterial roadways (EC Row, Dougall, and Howard) that all easily access the county, and it is abutted by existing commercial properties which transition across those arterial roads to residential neighbourhoods in all directions. It would have replaced maybe our biggest eyesore in the core, while also forcing the hospital itself to be more energy and operationally efficient (tower build instead of the lower sprawled wings needed adjacent to an airport). Finally, and because the land would need to be remediated very deeply anyway, it would have allowed for underground parking instead of more paved green space at any other proposed site. That said however, I would advocate strongly in favour of building the hospital without any delay in the process.
As a process I feel there are some key deliverables we can advocate for going forward.
- I would like to ensure our local and regional consultation process for significant investments such as this are fulsome, inclusive, open to suggestion, and consider Community Benefits Agreements. Citizens play the role of future funders and users of our hospitals, libraries, schools, recreation centres, and other government-funded facilities.
- As a municipality we must lobby to take ownership of abandoned government sites such as Met hospital, the Grace site, the former jail, etc. Allowing large institutional facilities like these – which are extremely difficult to repurpose – to sell immediately to private owners can result in the property being undeveloped for long periods or not optimally developed. Taking ownership would allow the city to service, parcel, and rezone it according to a site development plan, and then sell the parcels to private developers who already know the building/usage type planned for each individual parcel. Working with the Ministry of Health to create a Community Benefits Agreement for the new regional acute care hospital is a way to ensure this happens.
- Total health care service and beds: Our population is increasing and slated to continue to increase so we should not replace our existing hospital care system in 10 years with less or even the same number of beds and level of service available today – the build should accommodate immediate and future growth projections in the regional population. I would ask council to lobby the province to ensure projected future growth needs are met when planning and building the new hospital.
- Maintaining urgent care in the core: With the distance to the new location and the limited access to transportation available to residents in the core and west end, especially overnight, I would advocate for maintaining urgent (or emergency) care in the core, potentially at the existing Ouellette campus site which is still owner by Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital.
I believe the committee that chose the site made the decision they had to make. We need 24 hour urgent care in the core, and we need transportation options that get us to that new hospital site. If we can satisfy those two concerns, my next question would be what happens to these existing hospital sites? Met hospital is a hub for the South Walkerville community. If it goes, we need to have a plan for what we build in its place.
Patrick Sutherland (did not respond)
In October 2019, an appeal was heard by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) regarding the location of the mega-hospital. Part of the appeal process contained a report authored by the Windsor Region Society of Architects, which I supported along with the endorsement of the Ontario Association of Architects, calling for the site to be revaluated and that the new site be in a centrally developed area of the City of Windsor and not at its periphery.
The recommendations included
- investigating brownfield redevelopment opportunities or developed land that could be repurposed.
- taking full advantage of all available existing utility and transportation infrastructure
- avoiding unnecessarily depleting productive agricultural land,
- continuing to support the viability of the urban core without sacrificing any service to the region
- and that satellite facilities be located outside the City of Windsor to serve lower-density populations in the underserviced communities in Essex County.
In December of that year, an adjudicator dismissed the LPAT case. Later, a Divisional Court dismissed the right to appeal. In short, the location of the Mega Hospital has been ruled upon. Now we must turn our attention to the economics associated with the infrastructure required for building and ensuring the plan moving forward contains a concentration of medical services located within the city core. Undoubtedly, our City and Region deserve a new hospital, and I would work tirelessly to ensure that it becomes a reality.
Caitlyn Desmarais (did not respond)
I do not fully support the mega-hospital location. I feel they have not done enough research into other locations. I also want to know who in city council is affiliated with who owns the current land. This has been proven to be a conflict of interest in the past and has gone unnoticed or ignored. Also, I’m not in favor of closing hotel due or met.
YES… I do not wish to see this vital project for our community unnecessarily delayed any longer.
Currie Soulliere (did not respond)
Absolutely 💯 % support Mega Hospital. We need it as quickly as possible. But we also need services in the downtown as well. We can have both. We must have both.
Jo-Anne Gignac (did not respond)
With a megahospital and An EV plant im more concerned if we can keep the lights on for everyone. We don’t have nurses for the hospitals we already have, let’s get that fixed before we spend all this money on a place to put more nurses.
I generally am anti-urban sprawl- I would have liked to see this placed in a more accessible location.
I support a mega hospital for Windsor not a regional hospital. I grew up in Windsor and remember when we had 4 hospitals. As the population grew we decreased to 2. Now with projected increases in population and a growing aging population we are down to 1. This is the direct result of the mismanagement and the lack of investment in our services. For years Windsorites have had to travel to London for specialized health services, while Windsor failed to invest in technology and improving facilities. The Leadership concentrated on mortality rates rather than patient care, employee relations and most importantly the access to quality health care. Now scare tactics are being used for a vanity project, not a service for the people of Windsor, but for the wealthy communities surrounding it. I believe we should raise our bed capacity by maintaining and improving service at our current hospitals and building a new hospital to increase bed capacity beyond the projected 2.3/ 1000 that one hospital will provide. This is proactive looking at the future needs of the community instead of backwards thinking leaving the majority of the community without access to the hospital and health care.
Yes, I support the mega-hospital location however, also simultaneously advocate for continued services and 24-hour support through the Downtown Core // Windsor West.
I do not support the mega-hospital location. After being out in the community for the last month, it seems that there is little support for the new location.
My own personal stance on the mega-hospital is irrelevant, as everything has been approved and things are moving forward with dedicated funding. If elected, my priority will be to hire a City of Windsor recruiter; the recruiter will work to hire specialist doctors and healthcare professionals to ensure that we have the specialized services needed so that people are not on long waitlists, and so that residents don’t have to travel outside of the city to receive healthcare services. Additionally, I want to work with the provincial government to ensure that there are enough smaller urgent care clinics throughout the city where people could go in order to ensure that residents are able to access services where and when they need them. My stance on the mega-hospital is that we need a strong advocate to ensure that Windsor gets the services that we deserve so that everyone can access healthcare.
Yes, I support the location and we have already received provincial approval and funding for the second phase of the project.
100% fully support the location and the 10% levy.
Yes, I do. We have a medical emergency in our community. As your City Council we really need to focus on this improvement. It is critical for the well-being of our people to have the best medical care Canada can offer. My concerns are water mitigation, infrastructure costs, and public transit for this facility.
No, I do not. That hospital has been used as a bargaining chip for more than 10 years. It is in phase 2 at the moment, allocating 9 million dollars for planning. A project must pass 4 stages before being built, even at the 4th stage a project can be canceled.
As per my New Blue Platform, I do not support a new hospital with the same old problems. We need to address quality of care, medical errors and transparency. We need to commit to better healthcare.
Yes I do but with the caveat that we do require a 24 hour emergency centre facility in the greater Downtown area as well.
Yes I do, it is a centralized location to all the residents of Windsor-Essex and this hospital will bring a lot of infrastructure and new development in the region. This location will benefit the entire Windsor-Essex community in general and Ward 9 residents in particular. At the same time, I am for keeping the existing health services. I will work with Transit department to arrange for increased transit services from this hospital to all the locations to make it easy for the residents accessibility.
I am on record as questioning the location, however, that aspect of the municipal decision-making process was settled by the previous Council. I recognize that the decision around location has been made and respect where we are in that process currently. I continue to have questions mainly with respect to the lack of an infrastructure plan to support the Mega Hospital in Ward 9. My work as Councillor for Ward 9 has been and continues to be to advocate for the interests of the people I represent.
Simply put, from an infrastructure standpoint, we are not ready for hospital to be located at the corner of County Rd. 42 and 9th Concession.
Walker Rd. (where much of the hospital traffic will be) remains unfinished, there is no plan or funds allocated for County Rd. 42 or for Lauzon Parkway. The drainage plan for the area is still being developed. Given the significant infrastructure concerns that we are experiencing in Ward 9 TODAY, and the City’s historically uneven approach to investing in infrastructure aligned with the pace of development and the lack of a comprehensive infrastructure plan to support a massive institutional investment at the location I will not support putting the people I represent at risk.
I look forward to, and will continue to vigorously advocate for a infrastructure plan to support the Mega Hospital in Ward 9.
Yes I do, it is a centralized location to all of Windsor-Essex, as long as the existing hospitals remain as Urgent Care Centre’s.
Paul Borrelli (did not respond)
Yes , I believe it is already a done deal but we definitely need to utilize the existing hospitals.
We need a new hospital built and have come too far to turn back now. We also required a downtown emergency services campus.
I don’t focus on the location as much as getting it built as quickly as possible and debating the location forever will not get it done quickly. I also have always said that we need 24 hour emergency care downtown and that will happen.