Hospital Diaries Part 1: Cooke Doesn’t Know Health Care

Header-image-Shalapata-2By Ian Shalapata

“… while [I] understand your views u [sic] need better understanding healthcare.” Thus Dave Cooke, of the mega-hospital site selection committee, addressed Windsor Councilor Chris Holt’s Twitter questioning of the greenfield location settled on by the group.

With no background in city planning, construction, or health care, Cooke was appointed to the site selection committee for the mega-hospital; itself a misnomer. The selection of a parcel of land at 9th Concession and County Road 42, a greenfield location requiring $200 million in infrastructure and other servicing to render it usable, speaks to the substandard decision-making that can be expected from the unqualified.

The site selection committee simply chose a location from a number of land owners who submitted their properties for consideration. The committee didn’t actually determine the best location for the new hospital.


The process that resulted in the decision to go with the rural location, which will encourage urban sprawl and a required property tax levy for Windsor residents, is now the subject of a $10 million law suit. GEM Properties’ statement of filing also asks for an interim injunction on the land deal.

I question how a non-serviced soybean field can command a price of $100,000 per acre. The cost of servicing the parcel of land will be downloaded to the taxpayer, as evidenced by the tax levy, prematurely agreed to by Windsor Council.

The mega-hospital actually won’t be.

Windsor Regional Hospital currently offers 650 acute care beds. The new hospital will have just 500. Under the present regime, patients often have to travel to London, or further, for treatment. Under the proposed plan, travel for treatment will still be required.

At the Ouellette and Met campuses, WRH provides services in 12 clinical areas. How many will be cut back to accommodate the shoehorning that will be needed at the smaller facility?

It’ll just be a hospital; plain and simple. No mega involved, whatsoever, except the $2 Billion price tag.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is working to establish a patient-focused, results-driven, integrated and sustainable publicly funded health system. Its plan for building a sustainable public health care system in Ontario is based on helping people stay healthy, delivering good care when people need it, and protecting the health system for future generations.

Health care in Ontario is about the prevention and treatment of illness and disease. No where is health care about promoting urban sprawl or spending tax payer dollars on unsustainable political decisions.

To make matters worse, the former Salvation Army Grace Hospital site is planned to host an urgent care facility. After the debacle surrounding that property for over a decade, and the removal of a perfectly viable building that could have been repurposed for the intended use, people are left shaking their heads at the utter waste the so-called experts promote.

Cooke and his ilk have made a bad decision. They then chastise anyone who questions that decision. Using strong-arm tactics and bullying techniques, Cooke and Dave Musyj are taking an untenable position and making it worse.

At best, Cooke is being disingenuous when he tries to evoke health care to defend his misinformed site selection blunder. But, Cooke doesn’t know health care if he thinks it involves developing finite greenfield sites. Cooke is the same guy who said the ridiculous downtown canal was a great plan, too.

It should also be noted that the Ministry of Health has not approved the plan for a new hospital, let alone the specific location. Nor has the Ontario government budgeted for any of the costs that will be borne for the project.

With continued vocal opposition to the named location, just maybe Queen’s Park will tell the selection committee to get their collective act together. In fact, Cooke, Musyj, Gary Switzer, and Janice Kaffer should step down from the committee and allow someone else, who is willing put in a serious effort, a chance.

Ian Shalapata can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.

About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Email Ian Shalapata

2 Comments on "Hospital Diaries Part 1: Cooke Doesn’t Know Health Care"

  1. The following link includes a pretty damning letter saying infrastructures costs were misreported in the Star regarding the two leading sites: Rd 42 and GEM, from an engineering firm involved.

  2. The problem we have is the higher ups always seem to appoint a person with no experience in the field to make decisions they know nothing about. If I have a piece of property that I think would be better for the Mega hospital can I put a law suit against the city for $10 million. The Ontario Liberal government will cancel this Mega hospital which will be fine for a lot of taxpayers, we all know it will be way over budget when our city is involved.

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