Windsor Hospitals Information Site

Where Should a New Hospital Go? Have your Say on Site Selection Criteria

To participate:
  • Read the following current list of criteria and definitions.
  • Fill out the form below indicating which items you feel should be given the most weight in the process. Rank your top 10 selections from 1 – 10. One being the most important, 10 being the least important of your selections.
  • Provide any additional feedback in the space below.
  • Submit your selections and feedback.
  • One vote per person, please.

Ranked Criteria

General Land Use Conformity

Official Plan Designation
An official plan describes upper, lower or single–tier municipal council's policies on how land in your community should be used.  An official plan deals mainly with issues such as: where new housing, industry and offices etc. should be located, what services are needed to support new development and where the urban boundary is. The importance of the Official Plan Designation is whether the subject property's land use permits a hospital. The Official Plan has specific policies surrounding institutional uses and the proponent must demonstrate that the policies have been met. Should the land use not be an institutional use within the Official Plan then an Official Plan Amendment would be required which would result in additional time and resources. It is also important to examine the compatibility of adjacent land uses (existing and future, if known) so one can be aware if the hospital will be adjacent to a compatible land use and that the majority of the land is in a designation that is not constrained by Environmental features.

A Zoning By-law provides specific standards and regulations for all development. Zoning By-law's regulate the use of land, buildings and other structures. The Zoning of a site regulates the uses that are allowed on a property as well as where buildings can be located on a site, the lot sizes, dimensions, parking requirements, building heights and setbacks from the street. The importance of Zoning on a site is whether or not the proposed use is permitted within the Zoning By-Law as well as whether the proposed building footprint and site layout fits within the requirements of the By-Law. A Zoning By-Law Amendment can be applied for (e.g. if a use is not permitted or a building height exceeds the maximum requirement), if required, however this also adds additional time and resources. In most cases, an amendment will be required; however, heavy industrial zones, prime agricultural lands and environmental lands may not be appropriate.
Impact of Restrictions
(By-laws, Rights-of-Way, Easements, etc.)
Appropriate title search should be undertaken and legal survey required to ensure there are no restrictions on  the use of the property, including below grade services easements.  In essence the property should have clear title. Particular attention to municipal drains should also be evaluated.

Site Development Potential

(Shape and Geometry)
The shape and geometry should be such to accommodate the hospital itself, ancillary buildings along with parking. Therefore, parcels that are long and narrow or an irregular shape are not preferred.

Parking potential
Parking is generally defined by two criteria: the Municipal Zoning By-law and anticipated use. Depending on location, a typical Zoning By-law may state a “Medical Office” requires parking at the rate of 1 Required Parking Space per 13.5 m² GFA to while other less stringent uses state 1 Required Parking Space per 22.5 m² GFA. The second criterion is typical patient usage. Advice from our expert team members suggests a range of 15 m² to 25 m² GFA for optimal performance. As it is likely municipal zoning will be crafted around the use, this requirement should be defined by functional need. Surface parking will be preferred. Municipal zoning is often based on a per bed rate with the Windsor by-law requiring 1 parking space per bed. This allows for staff, visitors and those who may be in the hospital with a car. It is a minimum requirement.

Flexible Site Development/ Campus Planning Scenarios
The site should be large enough to accommodate the proposed uses as well as future buildings, structures, parking, landscaped garden areas etc.. The new hospital site should consider a master planning exercise that will help guide the optimal locations for building and parking areas. The site should be able to accommodate allied services and potential research uses. 
Expansion Scenarios The site should be large enough that future expansions can occur within the property to accommodate future projected population growth in the Region. A full regeneration of the proposed hospital should be accommodated on the site by having enough land access.

Parcel Size
(including future growth)
The parcel size must plan for potential physical and site needs of the facility over a 5, 10, 20 and 50 year timeframe that ensures best use of significant and long term government commitment. It should provide flexibility to accommodate major changes in health care delivery and/or program requirements. Based on hospitals' experiences with their sites in Ontario, the ministry finds that for future expansions to accommodate growth and future replacement/renewal, a hospital site of 30 acres or less poses significant limitations. The ministry finds a minimum area of 40 acres of developable land (i.e. not constrained with environmental features) will be favoured with 50 acres being preferred as it ensures that there is potential for cost effective future redevelopment. However, property less than this favoured or preferred parcel size will be considered.

Community Relationship

Service Catchment Area
Consideration should be given to the surrounding population (current and future) numbers as an area with a higher density would be more desirable for a variety of reasons (e.g. distance of travel, services a greater number of people within a smaller area compared to being in a more rural area). Future population within an area should be considered to ensure that proper services will be available. Thought should also be given to distance to hospice, long term care homes, other health services such as police, fire and EMS. Consideration should be given to EMS call origin data to most effectively plan for EMS response.

Provisions for any Allied Services - on site or adjacent to (e.g. Long Term Care, Pharmacy, Office)
Consideration should be given by the facility as to whether it would be desirable to bring allied facilities close to the new facility to form a campus arrangement.  This may or may not involve reserves for a Medical Office Building, Long Term Care or smaller components within the facility such as Commercial Pharmacy, restaurants or other retail outlets. These facilities should be accommodated on site, but may also spur similar development in the neighbourhood.

Relationship to other supportive Institutions (Research or Education)
The facility should locate in an area where other supporting institutions are within reasonable proximity, such as houses of worship, Long Term Care Facilities, hotels, medical, clinical and allied health education and research facilities etc., in addition to other specialized treatment facilities/programs located elsewhere in the Region.

Neighbourhood Compatibility
The image of the hospital and the acceptance of the community are important parameters in acceptance of the hospital to the community.  The facility and location must present a welcoming public image from the point of heath care access. The site must be located in an area where the use would be compatible with existing uses, now and within future policy directions.

Site Amenities (trails, nature, restaurants, shopping)
Nearby amenities to the site can enhance a persons experience,  The site should have trails and walkways within the site that connect to the bigger municipal system. Nearby commercial uses add to the location of a hospital for visitor and employee convenience.


The facility must have good visibility from major thoroughfares.

Proximity to existing EMS/Police/Patient Transfer Sites/Disaster Preparedness
Access to the facility must be well delineated and acceptable to emergency service providers.  The routes and the facility location must be convenient to the geographic region, with alternative pathways identified should primary ones be obstructed. Travel time for existing and proposed emergency services sites to the hospital is a factor in the location of the hospital (ie EMS response times).  Location should be in an area that would support disaster preparedness planning by EMS, Police and Fire services.

Road way capacity
The road network must be able to support or add capacity to support the existing average daily trips in addition to those anticipated as future population occurs.  Road networks currently operating at a level 'd' or greater may have long term congestion issues. If a roadway is planned for expansion, this may not be an issue.

Arterial/Collector Road Access
(Less than 1/2 km)
In keeping with the proximity to population the facility should be located with close access to major transportation corridors within the tributary region.   Typically, most hospitals have an address on an arterial road or equivalent.   They also should have close access to major roadways for connectivity to Regional communities.

User Access
(roadway, drop-off, loading)
Access, drop off requirements and shipping and receiving are inevitably linked to a site layout.  Without a site designated we can only base this item on experience and reasonable expectations as to the site form.  Functionally it is assumed there will need to be reasonable access for wheel-trans, patient transfer vehicles, ambulance and the like with protected drop-off at main and secondary entrances.   A reasonable assumption would be three loading bays plus any refuse/recycling holding.  Where ever possible truck and transfer vehicles should be separated from ambulatory visitor drop-off.   Overall a site area ratio may be in the range of 15-25%.  Control of signalization and other traffic planning aspects may be required and the ability to separate access.

Transit Route
(Established or Potential - To and on the site)
The user access area should front a local transit route in order to best serve the entire population and to encourage staff, visitors and patients to come by public transit when appropriate. A site could also have potential for a transit route which could be found in the Transportation Master Plan.

Safe and convenient access for pedestrians/bicycles/e-bike
Municipal sidewalks should be available or planned for on the roads leading to the site and in particular to the user access points.  Bike routes should be safe and the preference is for dedicated on road bike lanes.

Two Road Frontage
(Established or Potential)
Sites must have more than one main entrance route in the case of an accident on the road networks a secondary access route is required.
Distance Route to United States  Border Crossing
Patient transfers occur at the various border crossings. Routes and travel times will need to be evaluated to ensure ease of access.

Helicopter Flight Potential/Proximity/EffectAccess to Fixed Wing Aircraft Landing
The new site should be able to accommodate a helicopter landing area.  As a result it must be free from adjacent tall buildings greater than 30m in height and out of the air path of travel of the Windsor airport. Accessibility to the airport with effective travel routes is also required for patient transfers in order to accommodate all condition navigation.

Site Conditions

The site should be relatively flat without too many grade changes in order to reduce the amount of cut and fill grading activities that would occur during construction.

(Established or Potential, Redundant Services for Electrical and Water required)
Any site should have capacity to support the intended facility .  To avoid extra costs, the presence of electrical, water, sewer, gas and other services should be in place now or by the time construction is scheduled to start.  There are special considerations for plumbing and electrical systems in health care facilities. Access to two feeds for electrical and water should be available to the site. There are special requirements for plumbing installations, electrical safety and essential electrical systems in health care facilities.

Geotechnical Features
The geotechnical conditions of the site must be suitable to bear the load of the intended project and the groundwater not  impact basement use of the building if proposed.

The geotechnical conditions of the site must be suitable to bear the load of the intended project and the groundwater not  impact basement use of the building if proposed.

Heritage and Environmental Features
(Rivers/ Streams)/Archaeological
The preference would to not have heritage or environmental features on site, unless the site exceeds the minimum requirement.  These types of features require additional study prior to site plan approvals, and may involve setbacks from the feature and well as flooding concerns in some areas. An archaeological impact assessment could be required where potential impacts to archaeological resources are identified.

A site should not impinge on native wooded areas.  A vegetation management plan would be required if there are trees that provide linkages to wildlife corridors, contain significant species or provide breeding habitat for migratory birds.  Vegetation also limits the season in which work on site can be done if it is found to be habitat for breeding birds.  Replacement tree programs may be required if proposing to remove any species greater than 10 cm in diameter.

Protected Wetlands
Wetlands are often regulated in the municipal policy documents and through the local conservation authority.  Depending on the type of wetland development, of any kind, may be prohibited and thus that area of land will not be available for hospital use. It would be negative if the site was majority wetland i.e. there would be no room to build. A positive would be if there was a small wetland which would create a natural feature, visual enhancement on site.


The user access area should be free of downward draft from adjacent buildings or structure.  Avoidance of north entrances which offer little winter sunlight and exposure to cold northern winds. The site must also consider any required setbacks from existing wind farms.

The site should not be adjacent to any generator of noise that may impact the experience quality of patients and staff within the hospital or on the landscaped grounds.

Air Quality
The facility should not be downwind of any noxious fume generator or subject to other flows of effluent.  The site should be free of designated substances or provision made for complete removal prior to commencing new construction.


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