• James Armstrong

MNA Lucie Charlebois vows Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital will open by 2022

PHOTO COURTESY THE CITIZENS’ COMMITTEE FOR A HOSPITAL IN VAUDREUIL-SOULANGES

An architectural rendering of the long-awaited hospital that Soulanges MNA Lucie Charlebois confirmed will be built by the year 2022.

“We are almost there,” said Lucie Charlebois, Deputy for Soulanges and Minister for Rehabilitation, Youth Protection and Public Health. “When we open the hospital in 2022, those who are invited will see for themselves.”

The statement was made in a framework of the recent provincial budget announcement and the pre-election promises to name a site for the much needed Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital project.

“We are not back at the beginning. There were a lot of possibilities for a site and we worked on it,” Charlebois said. “It’s not a matter of not knowing what we want to do; it’s a matter of administrative issues.”

Charelebois emphasized the hospital project is very important to Premier Philippe Couillard, Vaudreuil MNA Marie-Claude Nichols and herself. “We have been very patient,” she said. “Now the project is moving forward.”

According to Charlebois, many of the administrative items are related to the $16 million allocated to the project in the budget. Charlebois used the analogy of a young person or couple planning ahead for the purchase of the first home. They develop an idea of what they want, and need, as they save for the future purchase. The $800 million in the Public Infrastructure Investment Plan of Québec 2015-2025 is the possible amount needed to bring the project to fruition. In the case of the budgeted amount, Charlebois explained, it is about starting with a general idea and then moving to a precise plan. She noted an in-depth evaluation of the current and future requirements of the region regarding a hospital must happen before an actual site could be named.

Regarding the Public Infrastructure Investment Plan of Québec 2015-2025, Charlebois said, “If we don’t have it in there, we will never have a hospital.” In fact, the project is listed in the ‘Under study’ category of the Health and Social Services section and also appeared under the same heading and category in the 2014-2024 Infrastructure Plan.

“We have delivered what we promised in our election campaign,” she said, pointing to cuts to the administrative costs of health care, reduction of the overall debt and fiscal support for education and daycare. “Our house is in order and now we can go forward with a reliable economic plan. Now we have the liberty to make choices,” she added. Debt reduction through increased payments to the Generational Fund has earned the approval of credit rating agencies indicated that Québec is on the right track, the Minister said, adding, “This is important for the future generations of Québec.”

When asked about the transfer of healthcare funding from Québec to Ontario to cover the costs of Québec residents seeking services in the neighboring province, Charlebois said it’s important to keep the local share of those funds in the region. Planning the details of how the new hospital will work in concert with its counterparts in Châteauguay and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield is also part of the current administrative work in process said Charlebois. “There are people currently working together to create a clinical project that will determine the path of the new hospital to avoid duplicating the specialty services already in place,” she said.

“We need to work together as a team in our area for this project to succeed,” Charlebois emphasized.

To that end, she and Nichols were planning to meet with the Mobilisation Hôpital du CSSS de Vaudreuil-Soulanges citizens’ committee March 21.

Denis Lapointe, president of Mobilisation Hôpital du CSSS de Vaudreuil-Soulanges citizens’ committee, confirmed in a brief interview that the meeting took place but declined to comment further.

Richard Beaumier, also a member of the committee and the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Chamber of Commerce who attended the meeting commented that the politicians had reiterated that the $16 million is for studies regarding the hospital and the purchase of land.

“We need more information,” said Beaumier, “and we asked them to call a press conference to answer the questions.”

According to Beaumier there was no response to that request. However, he confirmed that they were told that the new hospital would be opened in Vaudreuil-Soulanges in 2022.

To see a copy of Québec’s Public Infrastructure plan, consult http://tinyurl.com/j5ynawj

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