(Quebec) After stating that the expansion of the Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital would be carried out “in stages”, Minister Christian Dubé ruled out this controversial scenario to proceed in a single phase. Quebec will therefore increase its budget envelope by 2.5 billion.

After review, Minister Christian Dubé revealed on Tuesday that he would give the green light within a few weeks to the expected expansion of 720 beds in a single phase. “I have a very clear philosophy when I want to make a decision of this importance. I always want to have two scenarios”, explained the Minister of Health during the study of the budgetary appropriations.

“And maybe that’s what worried people, [the fact] that we looked at another script [of a project] that we could have done in stages… That worried a lot of people. people because they said to themselves that we could not live with the cruciform as it is, “admitted Christian Dubé, who was questioned by the solidarity deputy for Rosemont, Vincent Marissal.

The staged scenario, which would have resulted in the maintenance of rooms in the most dilapidated part, called the cruciform, was creating a stir internally, as revealed by La Presse in January. Mayor Valérie Plante then called it “worrying” for the population.

On Tuesday, Vincent Marissal reminded Mr. Dubé that he had promised last March, during the study of interim health credits, an announcement within “a month or two” on the expansion of Maisonneuve Hospital. -Rosemont.

The member for Rosemont quickly indicated that “this is rather good news” for the residents of the east end of Montreal. After the works, Mr. Marissal stressed that this was the “only desirable scenario” as the hospital “literally falls into disrepair”.

“I am impatiently awaiting the official announcement from Minister Dubé and I remain vigilant for the next steps while waiting to know the budget and the work schedule, two essential elements for the realization of a crucial project for the east of Montreal” , argued the member for Rosemont.

Responding to questions from Liberal MP André Fortin, Mr. Dubé later said that he set himself a 2030 horizon for the delivery of the hospital. However, the timeline will be specified when the project is announced.

PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, MP for Camille-Laurin, in the east of the island, argued that the “work to hound the government seems to have paid off”.

On Twitter, Valérie Plante welcomed Mr. Dubé’s decision “to accelerate the expansion of the Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital in a single phase”.

Minister Dubé explained on Tuesday that his department “is finalizing its studies […] to prove to the Treasury Board and everywhere that we made the right decision in the circumstances”. By proceeding in a single phase, Quebec will necessarily increase its budget envelope, but the minister did not venture further on the question of the costs of the project, which have exploded since the government’s first announcement.

In August 2021, Quebec had reserved an envelope of 2.5 billion, in particular to increase the hospital capacity of the establishment. However, the expansion project was more like 4.2 billion, according to a financial analysis by the Société québécoise des infrastructures made public by Radio-Canada in the summer of 2022.

Quebec has since promised that “the necessary sums” for the project would be invested, without specifying the height. The new budget will be confirmed when announced in May.

La Presse had revealed in January that the CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal was evaluating a much less ambitious expansion scenario, which would include the renovation of the most dilapidated building, the cruciform, to respect the budget envelope of 2.5 billion.

In the wake of these revelations, Minister Christian Dubé had for the first time affirmed that the expansion project would be done “in phases”, which caused controversy. Worried, Mayor Valérie Plante even took up her pen to ask the Legault government to publicly present “a clear proposal” for its “phasing” expansion plan.

Proceeding “in stages” forced the establishment to present a smaller project and to maintain rooms in the cruciform, an option that was wanted to be avoided due to the poor state of the building.

The HMR expansion project was first announced in 2018 by former Liberal Minister of Health Gaétan Barrette.