A site selected with your input
After a two year, comprehensive search, RVH has chosen an 83-acre site at the south-west corner of Yonge Street and Innisfil Beach Road, south of Stroud, as the location for its South Campus. The site, unanimously endorsed by RVH’s Board of Directors, is adjacent to the Innisfil civic campus and the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre where RVH operates a number of outpatient clinics.
We really did our homework, to ensure we found the right location for the South Campus. RVH’s Site Selection Committee, which included community representatives, reviewed almost 50 potential sites over a 225 square kilometre area in Innisfil and south Barrie. Through the transparent search process, and guided by 23 mandatory and desirable criteria, technical experts analyzed and ranked sites using over 2,000 data points, and assessed impacts on traffic, noise, air quality, natural heritage, etc. The process was incredibly thorough.
The site is centrally located to communities in Innisfil, as well as south Barrie, and is close to Highway 400. There will be access to the South Campus from Innisfil Beach Road and Yonge Street which will both be expanded to four lanes within the next decade. The site is also located along a GO bus line and the GO train station is nearby. Water and sewer servicing to the site will be completed within ten years.
You certainly did! Community consultation was foundational to RVH’s planning exercise and your comments have informed every step of our planning process. A dedicated RVH engagement team has received more than 45,000 comments in 57,000 consultation interactions. It is an unprecedented level of engagement for a hospital capital project. Consultations included Indigenous and Francophone partners, diverse and vulnerable populations, including seniors, LGBTQ+, youth, homeless, and new immigrants, patients and families, staff, physicians, volunteers, as well as RVH’s hospital, community, social and educational partners, residents and business owners, using a variety of engagement tools and resulting in a detailed Community Engagement Report.
Input was received through focus groups, online and patient bedside surveys, partner summits, presentations, coffee chats, clinical workshops, social media polls, and interactive design workshops. Part of the engagement philosophy was to meet people where they are, including hospital waiting rooms, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, social clubs and the bedsides of our patients. Stakeholder input is reflected in the location, and going forward will also be a key element in determining the South Campus building design and clinical services that will be offered.
Feedback showed that area residents are extremely supportive of an RVH South Campus to serve booming south Simcoe County. As one resident from Sandy Cove Acres told us, “RVH is bursting at the seams. My top priority is having care available to me closer to my home.”
More than 1,000 people responded to a location specific survey in which there was strong support for a hospital along the Yonge Street corridor in Innisfil.
We also heard consistent themes around the location. Residents told us they want a site that is:
- Easily accessed from Highway 400 with multiple access points from main arterial roads
- Central to population centres in Innsifil, as well as Barrie
- Close to the Rizzardo Health and Wellness Centre, civic campus and future health services such as physician offices
- In a location that minimizes impact on communities and the environment, particularly Lake Simcoe
- Accessible by public transit in the future
- Able to have construction and servicing (water and sewer) begin quickly
- Flexible, to allow for expansion in the future
The chosen site checks all your priority boxes identified through the more than 45,000 resident comments heard during community consultation.
The site is centrally located to communities in Innisfil, as well as the main population centre of Barrie, and is close to Highway 400. There is access from Innisfil Beach Road and Yonge Street. Both roads will be expanded within the next decade. There are also plans to widen the 7th and 6th lines so there will be alternate east-west routes.
The site is located along a GO bus line, a GO stop is planned for the corner and the new GO station will be nearby. Innisfil’s Transportation Plan identifies the hospital campus as a key transportation node in the future. Key services are already in place as a result of work being completed at the intersection.
The 83-acre site is more than large enough to accommodate the three phases of expansion and ensure RVH can continue to evolve beyond the 20-year plan to meet the needs of area residents. There is also significant space to include associated services, such as physician and other medical offices and clinics.
Our community consultation is far from over, and we want to hear from you. In fact, 27,000 of our 57,000 consultation interactions have come since the location was announced.
RVH has launched its intensive Phase 2 of its engagement strategy with site-specific consultation and will continue to talk with residents and partners as it further develops the site plan and facility design. RVH recently completed consultation sessions with Indigenous partners and environmental groups. We also held a virtual Community Listening Session on October 18 co-hosted by RVH President Janice Skot, Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin and Deputy Mayor Dan Davidson. That session can be viewed here.
You can also learn more about RVH’s plan at rvhplanourfuture.ca where you can attend a virtual Open House, have your say by completing a survey, and find out about other opportunities to get involved.
You can also complete a survey https://bit.ly/RVHSouthCampus to share your thoughts.
Ensuring greater certainty to move forward
Innisfil’s Place Making discussion paper identified the intersection of Yonge Street and Innisfil Beach Road and the Recreational Complex/Town Hall as key destinations within the town. Residents said the Recreational Centre, across Yonge Street from RVH’s future South Campus, could become the “anchor for a Civic Centre featuring cultural, governmental and educational institutions”. Furthermore, the Town of Innisfil Official Plan identifies the need for a hospital, “likely to be located outside of a settlement area due to its unique needs”.
The expansion is driven by explosive population growth that has resulted in crippling capacity challenges at RVH. On most days there are no beds available in the health centre. And it’s only going to get worse.
The population of the Town of Innisfil, City of Barrie and Township of Springwater is expected to double over the next 20 years with 173,000 new residents – over 74,000 in Innisfil alone. That’s like the entire city of Oshawa moving to south Simcoe County!
RVH is already bursting at the seams. Prior to the pandemic the medicine bed occupancy rate consistently exceeded 115 per cent. Patients were routinely cared for in hallways – over 3,000 hallway patients in 2018-2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we cannot go back to hallway medicine. It is not safe.
Our consultations showed bringing healthcare closer to home and developing a hospital in Innisfil is a very high priority with area residents. Given the expected population growth, we need to get shovels in the ground on this project as soon as possible.
To ensure RVH can meet the needs of area residents for generations to come, we must plan for the future. This site will accommodate RVH’s long-term 20-year vision for its South Campus – a health hub developed within the next ten years, to be expanded to a full-service hospital over the following ten years. The site will also ensure there is room for other associated services and health-related or educational partnerships – perhaps an Innovation Centre. The size of the property is important because RVH has maxed-out its current 40-acre property on Georgian Drive. RVH will be able fully develop the Innisfil site without have to spread beyond the property boundaries.
Hospitals require a lot of property and finding this much land within a settlement area and zoned institutional in any municipality is very challenging. The property is currently designated agricultural and RVH requests a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) which will align us with the government’s planning process and provide greater certainty for the South Campus at this location. That certainty will also better-position RVH to secure government approvals for our plan and allow us to conduct detailed site planning.
The MZO is an important planning tool available to municipalities that enables the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing the authority to re-zone a particular site. An MZO would ensure alignment with the provincial government and provide further certainty for the South Campus at this location. It would establish land use permissions and set specific requirements for new development, such as maximum building heights, parking, access and servicing requirements.
Developing a hospital is a long and complex process. There is urgency to move forward with this project as soon as possible so the opportunity is not lost. With certainty, we can get shovels in the ground faster, secure government approvals and government funding, continue detailed site planning, and encourage public donations through the RVH Foundation Moments Matter campaign. We can advance an important healthcare project that will benefit area residents for generations to come and boost economic recovery as the province emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
An MZO does not change the requirement for good planning and broad consultation. Under an MZO, the site plan is still subject to all strict provincial planning criteria and policies, including environmental approvals. Environmental protection and sustainability is a very high priority for RVH as it develops the South Campus. The MZO process provides further certainty that the South Campus can be developed at this location and allows RVH to move forward with its planning.
South Campus site considerations
Environmental protection and sustainability are important to RVH, and many of the site’s natural elements and water features will be protected and integrated into the site and facility design. Sustainability will be a driving consideration including;
- Watershed conservation, restoration and management
- Opportunities for energy reduction and on-site generation
- Waste reduction and water efficiency
- Carbon-reduced material choices
RVH will continue to work with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority to ensure the South Campus plan is aligned with the priorities and policies of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. Our region is fortunate to have this incredible natural resource. Its’ importance can’t be overstated – as a source of water, food and recreation – and RVH and the Town of Innisfil are committed to protecting Lake Simcoe.
As part of the Due Diligence/Site Developability Report for the South Campus, technical studies were completed by third party experts, including comprehensive assessments on the impacts on natural heritage, noise, air quality, etc. Ten assessments by technical experts concluded this is the ideal site on which to build a hospital.
Our goal is to develop a South Campus that connects to nature and also connects to the community.
We will incorporate existing woodlands and water features to create soothing views, green spaces and walking paths that promote wellness and recovery. In addition, RVH and the Town of Innisfil have a shared vision for community health and wellness and there’s an opportunity to work together to develop a “wellness loop” that extends between our two campuses. As we develop the more detailed site plan, we will actively consult with our community on these important issues.
The site is centrally located to communities in Innisfil, as well as Barrie, and is close to Highway 400. There will be access to the South Campus from Innisfil Beach Road and Yonge Street which will both be expanded to four lanes within the next decade. There are also plans to widen the 7th and 6th lines, so there will also be alternate east-west routes.
It’s important that people are able to get to the site by public transit. The site is located along a GO bus line and the soon-to-be-built GO train station is nearby. More importantly, Innisfil is working on a long-term transit plan that includes fixed-route transit. The Town’s Transportation Plan identifies the hospital campus as a key transportation node in the future. So, yes, the South Campus will be accessible by public transit in the future.
Servicing was a key consideration in the site selection. Because construction on the South Campus needs to happen as soon as possible, we needed assurance that servicing was already planned. Servicing to the chosen site, including water and sewers is projected to be completed within ten years. Innisfil planners confirm planned infrastructure upgrades can accommodate a future hospital.
Public spaces will be important, particularly given the proximity to the recreation centre, sports fields and the Innisfil Farmer’s Market. We will integrate the wood lot along the west side of the property and incorporate water features to create soothing views and walking paths that promote wellness. The site plan will also honour the significance of the land for Indigenous people. We will seek public input on all of these elements.
Planning our future
RVH’s exciting plan will expand space and services, while improving access to care for the region’s residents for generations to come.
The 20-year graduated infrastructure plan is based on a “one system; two sites” model. The current North Campus on Georgian Drive, and the future South Campus in Innisfil, are completely interdependent; one can’t proceed without the other. Services within the two-campus plan are integrated, not duplicated.
The plan includes a number of phases:
- RVH has already achieved the first step in beginning to provide care in Innisfil at the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre, which is across the road from the South Campus site. RVH provides a wide variety of outpatient clinics at the centre and between December, 2019 – September 2021, has logged more than 5,000 patient visits.
Phases 2, 3, 4
- These phases will occur simultaneously over ten years.
- Redevelopment of the North Campus on Georgian Drive will maximize space in the current facility, including space constructed during the 2012 expansion, and set aside for future growth. We will build a new nine-story inpatient tower, and then renovate the space that becomes vacant as services and beds move into the tower. The North Campus facility will double in sizeenabling RVH to introduce new programs, expand surgical services and add more than 240 beds, bringing the total number of beds on the current campus to 630.
- At the same time, the new RVH South Campus will be built in Innisfil at the corner of Innisfil Beach Road and Yonge Street. The South Campus will start as an ambulatory health hub, offering outpatient services and an Urgent Care Clinic.
Phases 5 and 6
- The South Campus will expand beginning in year 15, adding inpatient beds not dependent on an Emergency department. By year 20, the South Campus facility will be a full-service hospital with a 24/7 Emergency department, surgical services and 290 inpatient beds. It will be approximately the same size as the North Campus is today.
The North Campus will double in size, enabling a focus on more acute, complex services and procedures, such as radiation treatment for cancer patients and advanced cardiac care. We will also expand clinical services, including critical care, maternal/child, cancer care and mental health.
Healthcare services – like social services, education, transportation, water and sewers, are important infrastructure underpinnings to a healthy community. The impact on the healthcare of south Simcoe Residents will be significant. The Health Hub, the first phase of the South Campus, will see 240,000 patient visits a year; that’s almost 1,000 people per day! When the full hospital is complete, we expect more than 350,000 patient visits each year, including 60,000 emergency visits.
The South Campus will also serve our aging population. In 25 years, Simcoe County will have over 107,000 more seniors than it does today, making up almost 30 per cent of the population. That’s important because seniors use hospital services four times more frequently than the rest of the population.
Not only is our population growing and aging, almost 45 per cent of our region’s residents have a chronic condition such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer or respiratory illness. One in five have multiple chronic conditions. Clinics at the South Campus will focus on preventing health problems and promoting healthy living, before people need hospital inpatient services.
Definitely. An infrastructure project of this size has considerable economic benefits. The South Campus will produce significant employment, both during the construction phases and once operational. It will support local suppliers and businesses and have enormous spin-off impacts.
When the South Campus is built and the North Campus expanded, RVH will double its workforce, adding 3,000 additional full-time staff. This is especially important in south Simcoe County where a very high percentage of residents must commute outside the area for work. By 2038 the economic spinoff from RVH’s payroll alone will be an estimated $870 million. Many of those dollars will be pumped back into the local economy with spending on homes, groceries, entertainment and other goods and services. Simply put, having a hospital in your community is very good for business.
Once it’s certain that a hospital can be built on the site, the detailed site plan will be developed through community consultation. RVH will partner with the Town of Innisfil to continue opportunities to hear from residents on important considerations such as buildings, lighting, parking, greenspace, environmental protection, programs and services offered, and much more.
RVH has spoken with thousands of local residents about your ideas on this plan for the future. Your input is informing every step of the process and already, it has made our plan better – a plan to meet your needs. RVH will continue to consult with area residents and business owners, patients, staff, physicians and partners. RVH is your regional health centre. Let’s continue to Plan our Future. Together.