Nicholson cries political foul after Oshawa told its preferred site for new Durham Hospital is off the list

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Published December 13, 2021 at 5:11 pm

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Oshawa Councillor Brian Nicholson believes the fix is in on the site for a new hospital in Durham Region after the ‘Expert Panel’ leading the site selection process informed the city Oshawa’s submission will not be moving forward.

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter said the fight isn’t over yet, however, and added that the final decision will not be made for “many, many, many years.”

The City was informed by letter that their preferred site – just north of Ontario Tech University off Simcoe Street – would not be moving forward to Stage 2 in the process because it didn’t meet the requirement of being at least 10 kilometres from an existing full-service hospital.

Lakeridge Health is about seven kilometres away.

Nicholson said the decision was “politically motivated” and that the site had already been selected by the panel. “This is what happens when you have a process that is run by political people. This has been a mistake from day one.”

With the Oshawa site seemingly out of the running and the chosen site in north Pickering under attack by environmental activists for its proximity to the Carruther’s Creek watershed, the house money is on Whitby’s site near the junction of Lakeridge Road and Highway 407, he added.

“I think it’s all politically motivated to benefit a few MPPs,” he said, citing Whitby MPP Lorne Coe and Health Minister Christine Elliot, the long-time Whitby representative who now represents Newmarket-Aurora.

Nicholson added that the site selectors “really couldn’t come up with a good reason why our site was not good enough,” noting the 10-kilometre criteria was “arbitrary.”

“They didn’t debate it on its merits.”

Despite the decision by the Expert Panel, Oshawa is still moving forward with its bid to make the City’s sites and submission a “matter of public record” and have invited communications specialists Capital Hill Group to make a public presentation.

The Ottawa consultants will be in Oshawa next month at a Council session that will be electronically (at least) open to the public.

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