It might seem the location of the new, so-called mega hospital for Windsor and Essex is a done deal. So much so when Windsor’s city council was approached to approve a not needed tax levy to pay for it the councillors were told, basically, the location decision was out of the discussion. The councillors were limited, as they always seem to be, to simply approve the levy.
However, it now appears such decisions can be given a second look. At least this is what’s happening in the nation’s capital, where a replacement for Ottawa’s stately Civic campus is in the works.
The initial plan was to locate it on farmland used for experiments in agriculture. Unlike the Windsor situation, the farmland happens to be across the street from the campus and not isolated off in the distance, far enough for flying crows to tire themselves to get there.
Ottawa’s plan became somewhat controversial given the historic nature of the experimental farm and its many accomplishments. It became enough of an issue, as the Ottawa Citizen’s Elizabeth Payne reported February 10, for the hospital’s chief executive Jack Kitts to acknowledge his organization is now, “… reviewing its choice of location … and looking at other potential sites.”
Kitts admitted to listening to, “… those in the community who have asked we study and re-confirm that that choice still remains the best option.”
As a result, we will review it, and conduct the appropriate due diligence to confirm that the recommended site remains the best option. We will also study whether new options might have become available.
At this point, in what has become a mess in Windsor, there is no plan to review a decision by a selection committee which thinks a farmer’s field near the approach to the city’s airport is ideal. The committee is rigidly holding to its position.
It will put the facility, which by the way will have less beds than the city’s current two acute care hospitals, out in the sticks. No questions asked or needed. As Latin scholars might report it will not be, haud ullis labentia ventis.
This, despite informed accusations of urban sprawl which the present Premier is against. Kathleen Wynne even published her position in the campaign literature distributed during the last election, so it has to be true.
Kitts, in a special statement delivered to the Citizen, talked of taking the time to work, “… with the federal government, the province and the city to see whether new options, close to the downtown core, ‘might be feasible.’”
So far, the effort in Windsor has only reached the provincial government. Results of the decision process have apparently been sent off to Ontario’s health ministry for its approval.
An interesting point about Ottawa is the location was selected sans public consultation. A plan is now in the works to give citizens an opportunity to consult with the hospital, however, but on design not location.
At least, facing the concern of some in the city about removing historic farmland, the leader of the hospital seems willing to revisit the situation. Although it might be nothing more than window dressing, it is probably a good start.
Windsor’s denizens can only hope a similar situation could happen, ultimately leading to a better location. While not pleasing everybody it might be more appealing to the majority.
As to the tax levy, it is quite unnecessary.
The city has amassed a large fortune, right now $185 million, in reserves. Little more than half of that is needed for its share of the new hospital. It would be almost catastrophic for the council to let such a large pile of money sit doing nothing while pulling yet even more money from the city’s fragile economy.
However, don’t look for the council to ever be seen to be, haud ullis labentia ventis. It members, as is their wont, will remain unmovable, particularly with the joy they can probably taste to tax the heck out of their citizens.
Robert Tuomi 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.