Vaudreuil-Dorion’s contribution to LGH Foundation reflects hospital’s use by area residents
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon told attendees at the June 1, Monday evening council meeting that the city contributes to the Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation’s various charitable events because 17 per cent of the city’s residents use the hospital’s medical services.
A resolution adopted by Vaudreuil-Dorion during the June 1 council meeting to contribute $1,000 to the Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation to support its annual golf tournament, unintentionally highlighted the fact that the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region is still awaiting an announcement from the provincial government for the construction of a new primary care centre. Mayor Guy Pilon said the contribution was justified considering that about 17 per cent of the city’s residents travel to Pointe Claire to use the medical services provided at the Lakeshore.
“We feel very good to support the hospital because some of our residents go there,” said Pilon. “We also contribute to other events they have each year just so we can provide some compensation for the fact that our residents use their hospital.” The city’s financial contribution coupled with local residents’ treatment at the West Island facility indicates the need for a Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital which has been in the proposal stage for the past six years. During a stop at the newly-opened Centre de santé et de services sociaux (CSSS) in Vaudreuil-Dorion last October, provincial Health and Social Services Minister Gaétan Barrette pledged that the location of the new hospital would be announced before the end of 2015.
Almost six month later, residents are still waiting for the announcement.
“Minister Barrette came and told us it would be announced by December 21st, but there was no answer,” said Pilon. “What can we do? I think we did what we had to do and now it’s up to the citizens to do something. They will decide at the next election that if they’re not happy, they can be very clear with the government at the next election.”
Over the past six years, three different provincial governments and the two regional MNAs for Soulanges and Vaudreuil have repeatedly pledged to commit to the project, but no announcement has been forthcoming.
For Pilon, the persistent lack of commitment means that the realization of a new hospital keeps being pushed further back. “The reality is that many years later, even if they make announcement to build the hospital in 2016, it will take five year to complete the project. This means it will only open in 2021.”
The lack of a hospital in the region has been a contentious issue because residents who require emergency care have to go to either the Lakeshore or the Hôpital du Suroit in Salaberry-de Valleyfield where it could take up to eight hours before a patient is seen by a doctor. Other residents make the trek across the border to Ontario where they receive medical care in Hawkesbury, Alexandria and Cornwall by using their Medicare card to access the same services that are provided in Quebec. Local community organizations, regional mayors, and provincial representatives have been pressuring the province for several years to build the much needed hospital.
With a population of over 140,000 residents, Vaudreuil- Soulanges along with the North Shore are the only regions in the province with a population of over 100,000 residents that do not have a hospital.