There is a constant refrain locally that a new hospital is needed soon.
When checking the costs (roads, waterlines, sewer lines etc.) to service the planned farm-field location near the airport I found the online estimate of $200 million.
But with inflation I feel these costs have certainly increased over the last few years.
As a comparison the entire Windsor capital projects (roads, sewers, parks, etc.) budget for 2022 is $182 million.
At present, Mayor Drew Dilkens recently said there is a financial anvil hanging over our heads in Windsor and was seeking help of $25 million from the provincial government.
Are the $200 million in new hospital servicing costs to be borne mainly by Ontario?
The Fall Economic Statement for Ontario (from Nov. 21) includes a 2021-2022 deficit of $24.5 billion — up $5.1 billion from the end of the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Ontario will need to look diligently for where costs can be trimmed. While Ontario will certainly contribute to the cost of the hospital itself, it will unlikely contribute to such high servicing costs when there are possible alternative sites with lower servicing costs within the area that exist.
Then there is the option of the city going to the partner — Essex County — and asking for $100 million to pay half these servicing costs.
Funding any portion of this cost when there are completely viable sites in the city I feel would be a non-starter for Essex County.
By putting this mountain of servicing costs into the package for the new hospital I believe the mayor and other supporters will significantly delay the construction of the new hospital.
It is long past time to look at the total costs of this hospital project and admit the cost of services should change the preferred site.
Jim Glasier, Belle River
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