• John Jantak

Development planned for vacant St. Anne’s Hospital land following transfer


THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/CARMEN MARIE FABIO

The land transfer from the veterans’ hospital to the Town of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue will enable council to develop the area for the citizens and recoup lost taxation revenue.

With the transfer of land at Ste. Anne’s Hospital to the Town of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue finally completed, the city is looking forward to developing the land in keeping with the vocation of the hospital as a geriatric care and war veterans’ facility.

The land transfer took place on March 18 and came as a relief to Mayor Paola Hawa.

“It’s finally over,” she told The Journal in a telephone interview on March 26. “It’s been talked about, planned, and negotiated for so long now and it’s finally signed, sealed and delivered.”

Good will and leadership

“The transfer concludes the file and shows that with good will and leadership, anything is possible. I’m proud of the work that has gone into successfully completing this file and of the tenacity we demonstrated despite some obstacles. It’s now time to look to the future and to develop this area efficiently for the benefit of our citizens,” said Hawa.

The agreement is intended to restore the city’s tax base and represents long-term compensation for the financial losses endured by the municipality. “It’s a relief. It means that we get a new revenue stream to make up the difference from between the federal and provincial amounts that we used to get in tax revenue,” said Hawa.

Recouping financial losses

It will also give the city a chance to recoup the financial losses from tax revenue it wasn’t able to collect. The city suffered an annual loss of $3 million over the past three years, according to Hawa. “This transfer will allow us now to develop the land to create more revenue,” she said.

Preliminary plans indicate the city is looking at creating a seniors’ village for semi-retired and retired people 55 and older that will also provide a complete range of specialized services.

Economic engine

“We’re looking into putting in super clinics that will specialize in geriatric care and seniors’ residences providing full services and services for semi-autonomous people. The hospital is going to be our economic engine and everything will function around that. The whole idea behind this concept is that people should be able to live there, have their medical care there and have a coffee on a terrasse,” said Hawa.

“We will be going out to attract bidders in the next few months. I would expect the whole thing in terms of the sale of the land, the acceptance of the project with whatever the promoter presents should be between now and mid-autumn,” said Hawa.

Maintaining dignity of surroundings

The mayor added that all new construction will be done in a manner that respects and maintains the dignity of the current surroundings. “We are sensitive to the concerns of veterans and civilian residents of Ste. Anne’s Hospital and I am determined to have the future housing project fit in harmoniously with the hospital’s specific vocation,” said Hawa in a prepared statement.

“The presence of Ste. Anne’s Hospital in our municipality remains a major asset for our economic vitality, and we wish to extend our special relationship with its beneficiaries and staff. Our vision is to provide future residents with a peaceful neighbourhood that’s a good place to live.”

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