A while ago, before the announcement of the new location for a mega hospital to replace Windsor’s last two remaining hospitals, this corner of The Square predicted the new medical facility would end up in the Town of Essex. There are now subtle, and not so subtle, hints that the plan might well be alive.
For over a hundred years, Windsor residents have had a local hospital to call their own. That is way too long to suit some in the county. Their anger is becoming palpable, which is why the conversation is becoming quite visceral.
This was evident following a column in the Windsor Star on August 4 by Lloyd Brown-John. Nicely, he brought up the matter of, “… a better location might have been in Maidstone or Essex Centre.”
Maidstone is a decoy.
Brown-John is really sending the message that Essex Centre is where the consolidated hospital ought to be. Despite having a very low population density, making it ripe for extensive development, it is also the geographic centre of the region.
Brown-John’s column smacks of being the squeaky wheel looking for grease. If county residents can make enough noise, Queen’s Park might step in and put the hospital where it belongs.
The headline will read, New hospital to go where it should; Essex Centre.
The so-called mega hospital will not be built for a number of years, coming on-stream just when the region will need a lifeline to return to the heady economic prosperity that came with the Highway 401 extension and Gordie Howe Bridge.
If nothing else, it will ensure economic prosperity in Essex at the expense of Windsor.
It will become a whole new city, bigger and better than Windsor, without its prized waterfront. Essex will have enough new residents to end its uneasy truce with Harrow and be its own master once again.
Windsor residents, and rightly so, as they start learning about the costs to service the paper tiger of a new hospital south of their airport, are already anxiously worrying their city, with its crumbling roads, can’t afford such a luxury. Locating the hospital in Essex will absolve them of this liability.
The price they face won’t be in taxes, but in the inconvenience of a hollowed out city with the obligatory criminals and crackheads.
Essex ratepayers will welcome meteoric property tax increases because they will be the winners. And why not?
The Essex tax base will explode with property tax paying doctor’s offices, medical laboratories, new subdivisions, retail malls, etc. Windsor, on the other hand, will win the consolation prize.
Scholars will flock to the city, just like South Koreans did after former mayor Eddie Francis went to their country to convince them to pour into Windsor. The scholars will want to study a city where the tail actually wagged the dog.