Op-ed, Oct. 15, 2020
MNA for Vaudreuil
PHOTO COURTESY THE OFFICE OF MARIE-CLAUDE NICHOLS
Liberal MNA Marie-Claude Nichols is questioning how the proposed new Vaudreuil-Soulanges Hospital will reportedly be built more quickly under the claims of the CAQ government.
The CAQ must explain how it will accelerate the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Hospital project
On September 26, the CAQ member for the riding of Soulanges, Marilyne Picard, announced in a press release that several projects in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region would be completed faster than expected thanks to Bill 66 introduced by her government. Among the projects cited was the Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital, an infrastructure announced by the Liberal government of Philippe Couillard and which should see the light of day in 2026. The deputy for Vaudreuil, Marie-Claude Nichols, working on the file since 2009, first as mayor then as Prefect of the MRC and finally as deputy, wanted to know how the deputy for Soulanges plans to carry out the construction of the hospital more quickly.
“The Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital file is extremely important and awaited by the population,” said MNA Nichols. “I have been actively working for several years on this major project. I was surprised to learn that according to the MNA for Soulanges the project could be carried out more quickly. With the ground having already been identified by our government, when it was in power, all the following steps were established according to a compressed and precise timetable. In my opinion, the steps that could have been accelerated under the bill have already been taken. I am looking for explanations as to which stages of the project will be sped up by its inclusion in Bill 66.”
Bill 66 on the acceleration of certain infrastructure projects aims, according to the Legault government, to streamline certain procedures, including environmental processes in order to get projects started more quickly. In the case of the hospital, the land having already been chosen and assessed, the environmental assessments are behind us. All the preliminary steps having been taken and the first shovelful of soil will be done after the winter period. So what could speed up the process?
“I am very skeptical of the statements made by the MNA for Soulanges,” reiterated Nichols. “I know the file well and I can even say that the fact of having questioned the choice of land when the CAQ came to power delayed the deadline and it is thanks to the mobilization of elected officials and citizens of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges territory that the choice reverted to the initial decision. All I want is for the hospital to see the light of day and I dare to hope that this is not a simple communication stunt aimed at delaying this project with a population which has expected this hospital for a very long time.”
The Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital is expected to meet the needs of the growing population in the region. Thanks to the 404 beds that the establishment will have in addition to 11 operating theaters and the emergency room which will be able to accommodate 41 stretchers, the population will be better served. The project estimated at $1.5 billion will be carried out according to a very specific schedule so that the population can benefit from the services of the establishment as quickly as possible.