Ontario Premier Doug Ford's visit to Windsor earlier this month left him with no doubts about the top priority for this region moving into the future.
"We listen to every mayor and they all said the same thing. The hospital is number one," said Premier Ford to reporters during a news conference in Windsor on August 13th.
The premier had lunch at an Erie Street restaurant with Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, every mayor in Essex County along with Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff and according to Ford, he heard the message loud and clear.
"I have your backs," said Ford. "I am going to go in like the 800-pound gorilla and I will fight tooth and nail to get this hospital going down here."
The new acute care hospital on County Rd. 42 and the 9th Concession has been stalled without further funding from the province to move the project into Stage 2, which includes establishing a functional plan detailing the programs, services, staffing, equipment, and space needed for the new hospital.
Pointing to the age of the current facilities, Ford said, "It's not fair, people go to a 100-year-old hospital in such a large region."
The Met Campus opened in 1928 while portions of the Ouellette Campus date back to 1888.
Windsor Regional Hospital has 595 beds, only about 20% of them are in private rooms. This is one of many reasons behind the desperate need for a new hospital which would include at least 80% private, single-patient rooms to reduce the spread of infections.
When questioned when Windsor-Essex can expect a new announcement moving forward, Premier Ford replied, "When I get back out here, you will see scratches and bruises on me but one way or another we will make this (new hospital) happen."
The next stage of the project requires an additional investment from the province to proceed.
1995 Lens Avenue, Windsor, ON N8W 1L9
1030 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor, ON N9A 1E1