Questioning Council's position: The new hospital must be in Hull (Translated)
On several occasions, I have transported loved ones (including my children) to the hospital in an emergency and found it a long drive to Hull or Gatineau. I am grateful to the health care personnel who were quick and professional. In addition, for minor cases, I had to go to the emergency room in Ottawa, like too many of my fellow citizens in Aylmer.
We agree that the future site should not be based mainly on the possibility of a large parking lot. I also agree that a site like the Guertin Arena should be considered.
The arguments (environment, access, sprawl) to justify Hull's location seem to me to be very far-fetched and make us question the real reasons for these positions. Let's not forget that this is a very large investment. And where there is big money involved there is often also propaganda...
Arguments: Access: a potential location near the Allumetières-Vanier corner would be as accessible as the hospitals in Hull, Gatineau or Buckingham. The future public transit system on Allumetières will make a possible site along this rapid communication route very advantageous.
Environment : let's see ...thousands of acres are sacrificed to real estate development in Aylmer, but we cannot use a dozen acres for a hospital in Aylmer? They prefer rather to install an infrastructure far from the citizens who use it ... a position that does not seem very environmental to me. It is not the people of eastern Gatineau who will want to use it since they already have their own hospitals.
Regional hospital: a status that seems more than uncertain in the medium term and very uncertain in the long term.
Urban sprawl: For decades, we (including me) have been working to promote (more dense) development on Hull Island. We are still waiting for either the approval of the citizens, or the efforts of the governments or developers. But this development of Hull must not be done at the expense of the citizens of Aylmer. What have the promoters of the new hospital in Hull done to reduce urban sprawl? I don't see much in the development plans. Come and see the development in Aylmer.
Reducing health care transfers to Ontario, one of the main goals of the new hospital. Who are our biggest users of Ontario health care? Without a doubt, it is the citizens of Aylmer. Placing the new hospital in Hull is like intentionally shooting wide of the mark.
Aylmer is more than a suburb. It is also a vibrant downtown and a former regional centre with a courthouse. The recent decision of city council to locate the future hospital in Hull is a punch in the face to the citizens of Aylmer. These citizens are not fighting for high density development in their area, unlike the citizens of Hull. The citizens of Aylmer did not complain about sprawl, the environment or the decentralization of the new STO center, the aquatic center, the Slush Puppies arena or the Maison de la Culture. The citizens of Aylmer believe that they have a right to a health service in their area.
Furthermore, the proportion of our city's population west of Saint-Raymond Boulevard (Gatineau Park) is 30%, soon to be 40% depending on the pace of development in the west. Therefore, the citizens of the western sector are clearly under-represented on city council; two more councillors would be needed. Before telling Quebec City where it should build the new hospital, City Council could take responsibility for having a more equitable representation of its citizens.
What we all want is a good future for our children.