Whitby, Oshawa clash over new hospital site in Durham

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Forever rivals Whitby and Oshawa are set to clash once again, this time over the site of a future new hospital in Durham Region.

Lakeridge Health is planning for inpatient bed growth of almost 1,000 beds to meet projected demand over the next 25 years and the development of a new hospital in Durham is a major component of the hospital system’s Master Plan, which serves as a roadmap for the future of health care delivery in the Region. Anchoring this plan are recommended key capital investments and upgrades, including the expansion and redevelopment of Bowmanville Hospital and the proposed new facility.

Oshawa has a site all picked out for the new health care centre on land immediately north of Durham College/Ontario Tech University and just south of Highway 407, smack dab in the middle of new housing developments along Britannia Road.

Whitby is prepared as well and has a 160-acre site on land owned by the Ministry of Transportation ready to go. The site is located in the middle of the region near Highways 407 and 412 and the border with the Town of Ajax, and Whitby Mayor Don Mitchell said in a statement the fact that his Town does not have a full-service hospital should give them the leg up on Oshawa.

“Whitby’s proposed hospital site … is best positioned to serve the entire region,” he said, “It also meets all of the criteria our Hospital Task Force has identified for an optimal location for the new hospital to be built.”

That criteria, Mitchell said, includes a location that addresses the gap in acute care service in areas of projected rapid growth; is centrally located, enabling easy air ambulance, transit, active transportation and highway access; and boasts “ample space” to construct a new hospital and still have room to accommodate other uses, such as a long-term care facility.

The site selection process will be overseen by Lakeridge’s Board of Trustees and implemented by an independent expert panel, which will be responsible for all aspects of the process, including establishing criteria to evaluate each site. After evaluating the proposals, the panel will make a recommendation for the preferred site to the Board of Trustees, who will then make a recommendation to the Minister of Health on which site to protect for future hospital use.

“This will benefit all of Durham Region and define the future of a coordinated system of health care for generations to come,” said Sharon Cochran, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Lakeridge Health. “It will be important that the path forward focuses on unified support of a new hospital facility in Durham Region, the learnings of other hospitals, and the siting requirements required to support our Master Plan.”

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