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Health minister to choose a site for hospital soon: aide

  • A new hospital was promised by the previous Liberal government for 2018.
    A new hospital was promised by the previous Liberal government for 2018.
    Photo credit: Image courtesy CSSS Vaudreuil-Soulanges

Quebec’s health minister will soon outline a spot for the future Vaudreuil-Dorion hospital, an aide confirmed Tuesday.

Ariane Lareau, the press attaché for Health Minister Réjean Hébert, said a working group is preparing a final report analyzing seven potential sites. She said a decision would be made soon, but couldn’t say whether it would be soon enough to avoid delaying the hospital past its promised delivery date of 2018.

Regional politicians warn that Quebec is running out of time, saying the government has until the end of March to outline a site, or risk delaying the hospital to 2019 or later.

“There are a lot of steps in this process,” said Robert Sauvé, the prefect of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC. “If one thing is delayed, then everything else is delayed down the line.”

Worse, the MRC is worried that the ideal site will be scooped up by developers.

“Once the minster makes a decision, we can freeze the site,” said Guy-Lin Beaudoin, the executive director of the MRC. “But we can’t freeze seven sites. We have to have a good reason to do that.”

He added that during the process of examining potential sites, several had to be eliminated because they were bought by developers.

“This is a growing area, and there isn’t a lot of land around,” he said.

Lareau said even if a site is chosen soon, it doesn’t mean a hospital will be built according to the timetable set by the previous Liberal government.

Speaking to reporters last week, Hébert reiterated comments made to the Off-Island Gazette last year, that the previous government made more commitments than it can afford.

“The Liberals have promised many hospitals all over the province without managing the budget for building those new hospitals,” he said. “And Vaudreuil is one of those. We are analyzing all the needs in the health network and we will look at the priorities. The Vaudreuil hospital is one of the projects (being considered).”

Lucie Charlebois, the MNA for Soulanges said the minister is just wasting time.

“We shouldn’t play politics with health care,” she said. “There’s nothing more to analyze. There are 140,000 people in this region without a hospital. It’s the only region in North America.”

But not everyone is concerned, Michel Lapointe, the general manager of the Centre de Santé et de services sociaux for Vaudreuil-Soulanges said he’s confident the process is moving along well.

“I presume work is going ahead on their side of things,” he said.

Richard Deschamps, the general manager of the Agence de santé et de services sociaux for the Montérégie region, which includes Vaudreuil-Soulanges, said there’s no point rushing the process, because the planning stage is very complicated.

“It’s probably very difficult to find money to do this project,” Deschamps said. “We’ll give (the minister) time to work. (Choosing a site) is not a simple task. We’ll have a hospital for a minimum of 40 years, so we have to make sure we take the time to do things properly.”

jmagder@montrealgazette.com
Twitter: @OffIslandNews
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