By Doug Charles
Rather than envying the decision of Ottawa community leaders to reconsider their hospital site selection process, Windsor Regional Hospital steering committee co-chair Dave Cooke retweeted “A handful of activists put people’s lives at risk in Ottawa.”
— Lisa Porter (@LisaPorter2) November 25, 2016
Ottawa’s decision to rethink the site dictated by Conservative MP John Baird and hospital CEO Jack Kitts was the result of community outcry, but the decision to revise the site selection process came from Liberal MP Catherine McKenna and Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly.
The National Capital Commission was charged with the task, something outside of their mandate, but their criteria used was reasonable including emphasis on being within the downtown core. The new process included true community engagement with a public meeting of 400 people in September, and 7,600 survey respondents on the possible location for the hospital.
We had less than 600 survey respondents and input on the final location was never considered.
Ottawa’s process wasn’t perfect and without disagreement, but the process seemed reasonably fair.
I find it unacceptable that a handful of unelected, non-medical professionals, can put people’s lives at risk in Windsor. With apparent self-interest and a concern for the economic development of 546 acres, they resist common sense and risk the lives of the entire community with only one hospital and no adequate contingency plan.
About one-fifth of the population would struggle to reach healthcare at various times of the day. On top of that, they plan to commit the community to generations of a poor fitting hospital location; we won’t grow into it.
Health Minister Eric Hoskins, let Windsor-Essex follow Ottawa and other communities in revising the first stage of the hospital plan.