One step at a time for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital project
PHOTO COURTESY LA FONDATION CSSS DE VAUDREUIL-SOULANGES
Two years after the provincial government announced a dedicated location for the much-needed Vaudreuil-Soulanges Hospital, Soulanges MNA Lucie Charlebois gives an update on the situation.
Plans for the long-awaited Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital are progressing well, according to Soulanges MNA Lucie Charlebois. “The file continues in the study stage,” Charlebois told The Journal on Tuesday, March 6, referring to the first of the three stages outlined when she, Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette, Vaudreuil MNA Marie-Claude Nichols and CISSS Montérégie-Ouest Director General Yves Masse announced the construction site for the project last year.
The first stage was described at the time of the announcement as a two-year phase to determine medical specialties. The second phase would focus on architectural plans and the third and final would be on construction.
“Evaluations have been done,” said Charlebois but not all of them. “We have to look at all of the recommendations, large or small, and deal with them correctly,” she added.
For Richard Beaumier, local real estate business owner and member of the grassroots citizen action group Mobilisation Hôpital du CSSS de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, there are questions regarding the acquisition of privately owned land by the government for the project.
“When the announcement was made they (government) issued letters of reserve to the property owners,” Beaumier told The Journal this week. He said a letter of reserve is an initial step in the expropriation process and is valid for two years.
“What is the government doing? There doesn’t seem to be any expropriation at the moment,” he said. The citizen action group that had previously put pressure on the provincial government with billboard campaigns demanding a regional hospital has been effectively dormant since the announcement in 2016.
“The expropriation of land for the hospital can take place at any time during the first two stages of planning,” said Charlebois in response, adding that she continues to be occupied with that file. Both Charlebois and Beaumier acknowledged that the government has the legal right to issue a second letter of reserve on the expiry of the first.
“There are many interrelated issues that involve other ministries and the local and regional governments,” said Charlebois recalling a February 19 meeting in Vaudreuil-Dorion. It was a closed-door meeting with Quebec Transport Minister André Fortin, Charlebois and Nichols, and the Mayors of Vaudreuil-Dorion and Saint-Lazare, Guy Pilon and Robert Grimaudo respectively, to discuss solutions to infrastructure problems related to the construction of the new hospital.
Beaumier also raised concerns about whether or not a director had been named for the multi-million dollar project. “There isn’t a director yet because the project is still in the in the study stage,” said Charlebois.
Impact of Vaudreuil-Dorion super clinic
As for speculation about the impact of the construction of a super-clinic in Vaudreuil-Dorion announced in November 2017, Charlebois said they are completely different projects serving different health care needs for the population. “The hospital provides emergency services and beds. The clinic isn’t for people that need emergency care services,” she said.
The site for the long-awaited regional hospital will be on Cité-des-Jeunes Boulevard in Vaudreuil-Dorion, just southwest of the junction of Highway 30 and Highway 40.