Reader letter: Proposed hospital site just doesn’t work for too many people

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Finally after 30 years in the workforce, I am able to cycle to work and loving the daily ride through Devonwood Conservation Area, Walker Homesite bike path, Grand Marais bike path, and Ford Test Track. These are fine examples of good urban planning and tax dollars well spent.

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However, I recently decided to shop just south of Devonshire Mall, forcing me to brave roads on Marentette Avenue, Division Road and Howard Avenue. Yikes, never again. Unsafe and very unpleasant on a bike.

Now consider how impossible for health-care workers who soon may want to green their commute to cycle Walker Road or Lauzon Parkway to reach County Road 42 and new hospital location.

Planning anchor infrastructure, of course, does not hinge on pedestrian or cycling access. But it is emblematic of the reasons why the proposed site is wrong.

Consider an urban location like the former GM Transmission site at Walker Road and Seminole Street. Yes, it is a much smaller site, but sufficient for the 3,000 parking spots and 139,000 square meters of floor space the site-selection committee wanted — and still has room for expansion.

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Now consider proximity not only for health-care workers, but pharmacies, clinics, day care, emergency services, restaurants, suppliers and transit.

Further, consider lower-income folks and elderly, many in the core and west end, who do not own cars. It’s unjust to force them to take long multiple bus rides out to the proposed hospital site.

Yes, an urban location would be farther for residents in the southeast portion of Essex County, but they already have to drive. It would only be adding five minutes to a 20- or 25-minute drive.

A hospital is paid with tax dollars and must be located to best serve the public — especially the less fortunate and elderly. I believe the province will be much happier to pay for a hospital in a location that makes sense and costs less.

Urban sprawl is very inefficient and costly to the environment. This political decision must be changed to better serve future generations.

Marcus Girgis, Windsor

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