Slammed as inefficient, WEEDC says ‘Ho Ho Health center’ postcards cost $660

by | Jan 6, 2021 | Cards | 1 comment

Author of the article:

Brian Cross

Publishing date:

Jan 05, 20213 minute read

WINDSOR, ON. NOVEMBER 9, 2020 - The site of the proposed regional mega-hospital at County Rd. 42 and the 9th concession in Windsor, ON. is shown on Monday, November 9, 2020. (Windsor Star- DAN JANISSE)
The proposed site of a brand-new regional mega-hospital at County Rd. 42 and the 9th Concession in Windsor is revealed on Nov. 9, 2020. Picture by Dan Janisse/ Windsor Star

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A “ Ho Ho Ho spital” postcard mailout is being attacked by Coun. Rino Bortolin as the most recent example of a misdirected, unnecessary and money-wasting $270,000 mega-hospital lobbying project.

The 2,000 postcards were sent by mail out prior to the vacations as part of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation’s “We Can’t Wait” campaign to get provincial federal government approval for the next phase towards a brand-new $2-billion acute-care health center.

According to WEEDC, total cost for the postcards, including postage, was $660

Bortolin, who was one of the councillors in opposition when council voted 7-4 in November in favour of building of a brand-new acute-care medical facility at its much-criticized County Roadway 42 proposed location, said the postcard mailout disappointed him– “the cherry on the top” example of inefficient “We Can’t Wait” spending at a time when regional organizations are having a hard time to endure throughout the pandemic.

” This was something I felt was in poor taste, bad timing, a reflection of not understanding what the realities are out there,” said Bortolin, who pointed out the $270,000 devoted to “We Can’t Wait” represents approximately 10 per cent of WEEDC’s yearly budget plan which is funded nearly entirely by the City of Windsor and County of Essex.

On the other hand, everybody in Queen’s Park currently understands the area requires a new medical facility, he stated, referring to Premier Doug Ford’s promise last summertime to fight like an “800- pound gorilla” to get the health center approved.

The project totals up to persuading regional individuals to express their support for a new hospital by putting signs on their lawns and clicking “likes” on Facebook, said Bortolin.

” What are we really getting here? We’re getting more people in our neighborhood to say we deserve a medical facility, we require a medical facility. I think you can send out that voice without costs (almost) $300,000″

But the development corporation’s CEO Stephen MacKenzie stated “it’s just a pity” there’s this type of opposition to the campaign, because it just harms the neighborhood.

” The campaign is to rally assistance, to ask for to MPPs, to the finance minister, to the health minister, to the premier that we require this financial investment frantically, both from a health-care perspective and a financial development viewpoint,” he said.

The postcards, he said, cost only $660 They were meant to keep in touch with 2,000 people in the neighborhood who stepped forward to inform the government by e-mail or phone that they want and needs the new healthcare facility. “You can’t ask to do something and after that they never hear from you again,” said MacKenzie.

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” The postcard was a small touchpoint to thank individuals for supporting the project, for doing something about it in assistance of this crucial job for the region and this has in some way been blown escape of percentage.”

The mega-hospital has been in the planning phases for more than 8 years. Many are hoping the province will lastly approve $10 million in financing that’s required to move forward to Phase 2 as part of the Ontario budget this spring. From a financial viewpoint, the new medical facility is projected to produce 12,000 full-time jobs and $1.7 billion in gross domestic product, MacKenzie stated.

” The effect … with the multiplier effect of a $2-billion job, no matter what it is, is significant. The reality it’s for an acute-care health-care system to replace aging infrastructure, if COVID has taught us nothing, it’s the urgency for that.”

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WEEDC’s board voted unanimously for the project, which is being run by the Toronto consulting firm Crestview Technique.

Bortolin said he doubts any quantity of likes and lawn signs will encourage the federal government. What really tells the federal government that the region is devoted to the job is the steadfast commitment made by Windsor and Essex County councils for levies from taxpayers that will ultimately offer 10 per cent of the project’s overall expense– about $118 million from the city and in between $80 million and $90 million from the county, he stated.

” I do not understand if there’s anything more engaging than that to show Queen’s Park we’re major.”

bcross@postmedia.com

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