Cup of Joe by Joe McParland

42 Forward — Our New Hospital

HAVE A CUP OF JOE WITH JOE – Coming Together For “42 Forward — Our New Hospital”

Organizers with the group, “42 Forward — Our New Hospital” invite the public to attend a rally to support the new hospital on Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 6 p.m., at the newly opened Signature Tribute Events Centre, 3310 Dougall Avenue (and yes there is plenty of parking for all!).

On this evening, have your family dinner at home and then come out for light desserts, munchies and refreshments with entertainment by The Wellness Band from The Hospice of Windsor and Essex County.

“42 Forward — Our New Hospital’” is a grassroots group dedicated to lobbying and advocacy for the County Road 42 Acute Care Hospital for Windsor Essex.

Members of the group want the unheard residents of Windsor — who share and support their view — to come from the shadows as the silent majority, and become the vocal majority supporting the new hospital. It is critical that Queen’s Park hears their voice.

But first, a little background information is needed.

In 2003 the City of Windsor annexed approximately 8.9 square miles from the Town of Tecumseh for future development, including the private land at County Road 42 and Concession 9.

In 2012 The Honourable Dwight Duncan kick-started a thorough investigation into the viability of the current healthcare facilities in this region. His team of professional experts concluded that the shelf lives of the city’s main two hospitals — Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette and Met campuses — was expiring (they opened their doors in 1888 and 1928, respectively).

The experts determined these aged buildings would require more money, just to bring them up to less than present day needs, than the cost of building a new state-of-the-art acute care hospital with expanded services for the Windsor Essex region. You can only put so many bandages on a gaping wound, right?

In 2013 a site selection committee of volunteers representing all major political backgrounds was struck, and by March 2015, five possible locations for the new hospital were identified. In 2015, lands at County Road 42 and Concession 9 were selected.

On August 13, 2018 Windsor City Council voted in favour of an official plan amendment for the 400-hectare area for the proposed acute care hospital site. Commercial and residential uses are now permitted uses for the area. The council also passed a zoning bylaw amendment for the new acute care hospital at its chosen location.

These decisions are currently under appeal with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) — which replaces the former Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). LPAT resumes its hearing on this matter in Windsor on October 8, 9 and 10 in Windsor City Council Chambers, beginning at 10 a.m.

This appeal, against the City of Windsor and the Windsor Regional Hospital, was lodged by a group called, CAMPP (Citizens for an Accountable Megahospital Planning Process with a website. In their opposition to the chosen site for the Acute Care Hospital, CAMPP has unleashed a public campaign including lawn signs, billboards, meetings, social media, and extensive political lobbying at Queen’s Park.

Now, please, meet Ronna Hope Warsh.

Warsh began her career more than 30 years ago working directly with people with developmental challenges. From there she moved on and spent her next 21 years with the Province of Ontario in the Ministry of Social Services. She then spent seven and a half years as the Commissioner of Social and Health Services with the City of Windsor, before leaving the public sector to start up her own business, Ronna Hope Warsh Leadership Coaching and Consulting, providing service to the public sector.

With “42 Forward — Our New Hospital” Warsh has brought together an eclectic group sharing her concerns and passion, made up of like-minded residents including: Brian Stocks, Bev Valliquette, Gunther Wolf, Noah Tepperman, Janis Windsor, Jeff Casey, Brenda Brunelle and myself (Joe McParland).

Warsh explains she formed this group because, “my experience has taught me about the power of the people; that when the citizens speak out and clearly express their views on local important issues, the government listens. Effective lobbying and advocacy make a difference in decision making at Queen’s Park or at other levels of government.”

She has seen this time and again in her many years of work in the province.

When asked about the impact of the location of the new hospital for the poor and disadvantaged of the community in the core area, Warsh says, “I am hopeful as we receive the funding needed to begin planning in the next stage that the current Ouellette site will provide even more enhanced services for the people in need of social and special health care, many of whom live downtown.”

With respect to those with no access to a car trying to get County Road 42, Warsh indicates, “their issues will also be addressed in phase two and the City of Windsor’s Social Services and other departments, will ensure their access.”

Warsh stresses this is why it is critical this region receive the funding NOW and begin the planning.

Wolf, a retired, well-known and long-time former educator in Windsor, attracted Warsh’s attention in support of “42 Forward” by creating his own unique sign for the front of his home on Dougall Avenue in South Windsor.

Why did he do this? Wolf explains, “My wife battled numerous life-threatening illnesses in Windsor health facilities that were sub-par. After 18 years she succumbed to her illnesses, in April of 2018. To show my appreciation for the outstanding care provided by our doctors, nurses, hospital staff and many others in our health facilities, I felt that supporting the new hospital would be thanking them for their outstanding work in the current ‘less than perfect’ hospital environment. They deserve the best to serve all of us.”

Wolf also cites the loud public dissent of the opposition groups to the County Road 42 site, and their dismissive attitude toward county residents needing our regional healthcare.

He says, very bluntly; “regardless where it is located, some people will be closer, and others will be further away.”

Stocks, Chairman of the group, is the individual who coined the group name, “42 Forward”.

A retiree from the volunteer sector, Stocks mentions he became involved because “the commitment and expertise of David Musyj and his committee in moving the mega-hospital project forward really impressed me. But, seeing the misinformation being spread by a vocal minority moved me to act. I felt it was time for the silent majority who are in favour of our new hospital on County Road 42, to make our voices heard. And wishing to lead by example, I accepted the role of Chairperson of our team.” 

Stocks believes that, “Windsor and Essex County residents are at the crossroads of health care for this and the next generations. The location on County Road 42 means our county friends will also now have prompt access to hospital care. They have committed funds toward the project and are indeed deserving of the fruits of their labour.

The group name, ‘42 Forward — Our New Hospital’ reflects our excitement of the unlimited opportunities of enhanced health care, now and in the future!”

So . . . once again, please attend this celebratory rally to support “42 Forward — Our New Hospital” on October 3 at 6 p.m. at the Signature Tribute Events Centre.

Do not remain silent any longer. Let’s fill the hall as you join your voices as the emerging vocal majority in letting Queen’s Park know where Windsor Essex residents stand on this critical issue — “42 Forward”!

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