Whitby cements its hospital site selection frontrunner status after Pickering bid rejected

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Published January 6, 2022 at 10:33 am

And then there was one.

Lakeridge Health’s Board of Trustees hasn’t made any announcement yet, but Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan got the Dear John letter yesterday informing him that the board had rejected Pickering’s bid for a new hospital in Durham Region.

The letter followed news delivered to Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter last month that Oshawa was out of the running as well, leaving only Whitby and their site on provincially owned lands near Lakeridge Road and Highway 407 in the race.

Oshawa cried foul last month, with Regional Councillor Brian Nicholson claiming it was a pre-determined decision, and Ryan chimed in today, saying that awarding the contract to build a full-service hospital in north Whitby will cost taxpayers an extra $40 million.

Ryan said Pickering found a development partner that was willing to donate the land, saving taxpayers “tens of millions of dollars,” in contrast to the Whitby location. “If the Province was to donate 50 acres to Lakeridge Health, it would be losing approximately $40M in revenues that could be realized on the open market.”

The final decision is many months away and any shovels in the ground longer longer still, but with only one site left in the running it doesn’t take a crystal ball to know where the next hospital in Durham Region is going, Ryan said.

“There is a demonstrated and urgent need for a new hospital in Durham Region to improve healthcare for our residents and support our future growth. As we grapple with the latest wave of COVID-19 and the tremendous impact of the Omicron variant on public health, the need for strategic decision-making around the future of our provincial healthcare system has never been clearer.”

“Asking Ontario taxpayers to absorb a $40M loss may be okay with the panel and hospital administrators, but it should be a significant concern to the Provincial government as we continue to struggle with the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic. We ask Lakeridge Health to make both bids publicly available for review.”

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