In an October 22 editorial, the Windsor Star, without offering proof, claimed the city’s two hospitals are, “… located too far from the population’s growth centres in Essex County.” It is a bald and unsubstantiated statement.
So much so, it didn’t pass muster with some of the paper’s readers.
One of them, Howard Weeks, saw the editorial for what it is. In his mind, it shows the unelected members of the committee, which hatched this costly plan, are, “… running scared.”
Weeks probably hit the nail on the head, given the number of Re-Think signs turning up on lawns throughout the city. The mounting number of signs should eventually encourage the powers that be to take another look at their devastating plan to remove acute care from the highly populated areas of the city. They want to give taxpayers a bill worth hundreds of millions to provide infrastructure where none exists today.
This growing body of dissenters might be the reason the local paper had to weigh in with an editorial filled with distant inaccuracies.
With some reliability, it can be assumed the paper’s opinion editor had something to do with the diatribe. Chris Vander Doelen, the editor, has shown somewhat of a distaste for fact-checking.
In reality, the current two hospitals in the city are not as far away from the areas of growth in the region as some may think. In fact, in many cases, they are closer.
Windsor’s Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) has the lion’s share of residents in the region. Recent 2011 Statistics Canada data show the CMA’s population standing at 319,246.
The majority of these residents live along the Detroit River or Lake St Clair. Their municipalities consist of Windsor and its two adjacent bedroom communities as well as Amherstburg and Lakeshore.
Between 2006 and 2011, Windsor saw a population drop of -2.6%. Its eastern neighbour, Tecumseh, dropped -2.5% and Amherstburg -0.9%.
Growth occurred in Lakeshore (3.9%) and LaSalle (3.6%).
The Leamington CMA consists of two towns. Leamington had a -1.5% drop in population, while Kingsville grew by 2.2%. Both are served by a hospital in Leamington.
The Town of Essex is not included in a CMA, most likely because of its small, scattered population.
Some in the county are arguing it is their turn to have a hospital. It is an arcane argument because it is so far outside basic logic.
In fact, some county residents have a choice of four hospitals. They include two in Windsor, one in Leamington and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance in the former town of Chatham.
A simple Google search provides convincing evidence to counter the local paper’s unverified and undocumented argument. In reality, the proposed new hospital, which will be developed in a farmer’s field south of the airport, will not be closer to the county’s growth areas if distance by road is the measurement of choice.
It will be slightly closer to downtown Belle River and some residents in Tecumseh if EC Row is used as the travel route. However, those who drive west on Tecumseh Road, or if EC Row is closed or congested, will actually find the distance to the current Met campus to be closer.
For residents in LaSalle, the new hospital, says Google, will be further away. The current Windsor Regional Hospital campuses are each closer, although this is a point to point comparison. It might vary from locations in different parts of the town.
Obviously, for residents in the densely populated area of Windsor, the new hospital will be well distant.
Is there a reason Vander Doelen did not draw on his paper’s resources to hire a cartologist to verify his claim?