Dilkens accuses health unit of CTS bait-&-switch, & attacks colleagues in process

Feb. 16, 2023

Mayor Drew Dilkens is accusing the health unit of a bait-and-switch about the CTS compromise and indirectly attacks his council colleagues when doing so. Let’s get real…

In a new article by CTV Windsor’s Sanjay Maru, Mayor Drew Dilkens addresses the ongoing issue regarding the approved CTS location downtown on Wyandotte St. E. and the compromise approved between ward 3 downtown city councillor Renaldo Agostino and the Windsor Essex Health Unit Board (of which Agostino sits on).

Tonight, Mayor Dilkens says the compromise – caused due to Agostino’s seeking of a new and better location for the CTS site – is a “bait & switch” because it might not be fully provincially funded at its outset.

The compromise was achieved following a city council meeting in which Agostino was seeking to rescind the past-city council’s approval of the CTS location, but following immense public backlash, rescinded his motion to rescind.

It’s true the site might not be fully provincially funded at the outset; the move itself could jeopardize short-term funding, but the health unit had already committed to funding the site operations through either service cuts, grant applications, or philanthropic and fundraising endeavours. For a “bait-and-switch” it was well publiclized and approved.

What’s most odd about this is Dilkens’ direct attack on his council colleagues who currently sit on the health unit board or used to. For the mayor to use his office to accuse his sitting council colleagues of essentially lying to their fellow council members and the public is…eye raising and deserving of more attention.

For those observing the situation on the sidelines who have been critical of city council, the delay & pitch to move the CTS site in pursuit of a better location was seen as at best a plan to delay, or at worst a plan to cancel, the opening of the CTS site.

But things went awry & the compromise was achieved. Now however we have another motion brought forward seeking more financial information and overall risks associated with moving forward with the project without guaranteed provincial funding at the outset.

Talk about a bait-and-switch!

This is such classic BS from Windsor City council: create a crisis, exploit the crisis, point to the crisis, and then defend poor decisions because of the crisis.

Unfortunately, some on council – not all, nor even a majority, but some – are content with, at best the CTS site’s opening be delayed, or at worst cancelled.

What’s truly disgusting about all of this is that last year Windsor Essex saw the most overdose deaths due to opioids, with 86 lives lost. We know our community is dying, but here we are, staring further complications straight in the face when we know what interventions we should be taking.

Some on council are deriding comparisons between the opposition to the megahospital location and opposition to the CTS location, saying the comparisons are entirely inaccurate.

Dilkens specifically said there’s “no correlation” between the megahospital and CTS projects because they’re “two completely different matters which are completely unrelated.”

Perhaps he’s right: at least opposition to the megahospital campaign was grassroots whereas opposition to the CTS location is astroturfed.

But another local resident on social media aptly commented to me that “there is a difference between the hospital and the CTS. People were fighting for the hospital to be located closer to those who will be using it (i.e. more populated areas) while the CTS opposition is about hiding it (making it less accessible to clientele).”

The same resident brought up Ward 8’s Jo-Anne Gignac motion for more financial information brought and questioned whether it was “safe to assume” the city has no contingencies in place “in the event inflation drives up the cost of the hospital and, therefore, the city’s portion” of the levy. a very good question.

Ward 1’s Francis said he hopes the cost assessment will eliminate most concerns about the CTS site and that it will actually bolster support for on Wyandotte. “We want to move forward as quickly as possible, and we want to mitigate the risk to the city taxpayers as a result.”

Delays are not moving forward as quickly as possible.

My fear is that somehow this project is going to be delayed, derailed or cancelled. I wouldn’t but surprised to find something changes at the provincial level and funding is delayed or denied, further complicating matters.

Hell, at this point the mayor could reach out to Premier Ford directly and show him the ongoing issues about funding and location, emphasize that it was the past council which approved the location and not the current, and plead to the premier that the province delay the project to protect Windsor taxpayers.

But as another resident commented to me privately, how is it possible to lose provincial funding when we have a government member with the so-touted “seat at the table”. Another good question deserving more consideration.

I hope I’m wrong. Delays increase the further likelihood of overdose opioid deaths.

We should all be aligned on prevention and elimination of as many unnecessary overdose deaths as soon as possible. Our community deserves absolutely no less.

And if we’re talking about unvalidated comparisons between the debate and opposition to the megahospital location and opposition to the CTS location because some have said they’re inaccurate, maybe someone should print signs or start a campaign to help differentiate the two?

A slogan is coming to mind, and I wonder if it resonates locally…

“We Can Wait” or something similar? It sure seems like we can wait…at least for some…



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