The new site for Humber River Regional Hospital will be located on provincially owned land in the Keele Street and Wilson Avenue area.
"This is an essential part of our plan to rebuild and modernize hospitals across Ontario to reduce wait times and improve access to top-quality care," Don Valley East MPP David Caplan, minister of public infrastructure and renewal, said Friday.
The HRRH project is part of ReNew Ontario, the McGuinty government's five-year infrastructure investment strategy. Under the strategy, the province and its partners will invest $30 billion over the next five years in Ontario's public infrastructure,
The new hospital has been approved by the provincial government as an alternative financing and procurement project, which means construction work would be financed and carried out by the private sector, which would assume the financial risks of ensuring the project is finished on time and on budget. But the facility would be publicly owned, controlled and accountable.
Construction of the new hospital, which will sit on 30 acres of land at Downsview's Ministry of Transportation site, is expected to begin in 2010.
There is no set completion date and a decision has not been made regarding the future of HRRH's existing three sites, said a hospital spokesperson.
The new hospital, which will serve a catchment area of 800,000 residents, will offer a range of in-patient services including expanded emergency services, state-of-the-art diagnostic services and modern infectious disease containment systems.
Construction will also include the redevelopment of ambulatory care services, which is expected to operate out of one of the hospital's existing sites.
"We're very excited about the opportunity this provides to our community," Rueben Devlin, president and CEO of the hospital, said. "This is an important next step in the planning for our new acute care facility, one that will reach into our community and provide a wide range of medical services as close to home as possible. We can also focus our efforts on converting one of existing sites into an accessible ambulatory care centre that will serve thousands of people in our community."
The Keele Street and Wilson Avenue site was chosen based on several criteria including land availability, highway access, distance and access from current hospital sites and adequate acreage to accommodate future growth requirements.
"We have to plan for the future, not just the present," said York Centre MPP Monte Kwinter. "This site made the most sense in the long term."
But the hospital announcement wasn't welcomed by all.
"It is poor economic stewardship to put the taxpayers on the hook for more money and at the same time put health-care workers' livelihoods at risk by privatizing or contracting out their jobs," Sharleen Stewart, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1.on, the union representing service and clerical workers at the hospital.
HRRH was formed in 1997 through the merges of Humber Memorial Hospital, Northwestern General Hospital and York-Finch General Hospital.
One of the largest regional acute care hospitals in Ontario, it annually sees 365,000 outpatients and receives 100,000 emergency room visits.