“Next steps” in Whitby hospital campaign unveiled Wednesday

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Published April 2, 2024 at 1:47 pm

Site of future Whitby hospital
Site of the future Durham Region hospital in Whitby

After three budgets and two years of inaction from the provincial government on bringing an already-approved new hospital to Whitby, Mayor Elizabeth Roy plans to announce the next steps Wednesday in a community campaign to get the Doug Ford government to stop dragging its feet and break ground on the much-needed facility.

Lakeridge Health selected Whitby to host its seventh hospital back in January 2022. But provincial funding – a $3 million planning grant to get the project moving, for a start – is required and until recently there has been nothing but crickets from Queen’s park, with budgets passed in 2022 and 2023 (each chock-full of health care goodies) with no planning grant announced.

There were also accusations of backdoor shenanigans from Mayor Kevin Ashe in neighbouring Pickering, who wanted the hospital in his city limits, despite the planned location being right on the Whitby-Pickering border.

Ford finally declared the hospital would indeed be coming to Whitby but the 2024 budget came and went (with billions in health care spending) March 26 with no planning grant. Again.

Thousands of Durham residents have joined Whitby’s advocacy campaign this year, signing a call-to-action letter or sharing their personal stories to help bring a new hospital to Durham and care closer to home.

Whitby Mayor Elizabeth Roy

“It’s been two years since Lakeridge Health announced lands in Whitby as the preferred site for the new Durham hospital to be located – two years with no action from the Province of Ontario on the planning grant and land commitment required to move the hospital process forward,” Roy said in a statement, citing the “third consecutive provincial budget” that was approved “without funding for this urgently needed new hospital.”

The hospital, which will be south of Highway 407, west of Highway 412, east of Lake Ridge Road and north of Highway 7/Winchester Road, will be the only trauma centre between Toronto and Kingston.

“A future hospital in this central location with close proximity to major roads and highways, will serve residents from across Durham. This means that when seconds count, people will be able to get care quickly,” Roy said at the time of the announcement.

Residents and the media are invited to hear about the next steps in the campaign Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Whitby Council Chambers. The event will also be livestreamed on the Town’s Facebook channel.

For more information, visit whitby.ca/NewHospital.

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