Businesses frustrated, dejected by Gatineau hospital expropriation plans

·1 min read
The Quebec government announced plans last month to build a new hospital in Gatineau, Que. It would go in an area bordered by rues d'Edmonton and Adrien-Robert and boulevard de la Carrière, just west of Lac Leamy. (Yosri Mimouna/Radio-Canada - image credit)
The Quebec government announced plans last month to build a new hospital in Gatineau, Que. It would go in an area bordered by rues d'Edmonton and Adrien-Robert and boulevard de la Carrière, just west of Lac Leamy. (Yosri Mimouna/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Several business owners in Gatineau, Que., are expressing frustration and resignation with the fact their properties will be expropriated to build a new central hospital.

The 600-bed hospital campus is slated to be built on an industrial park rue d'Edmonton in the city's Hull sector, just west of Lac Leamy.

On Thursday, a lawyer representing the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI) outlined to affected businesses how the process would work, with the eventual expropriation — the taking away of property by government for public use or benefit — slated for the summer of 2024.

According to the SQI, businesses will receive compensation based on the value of the property.

But the two-year timeline is simply too short, said Jacques Bélanger, who's owned and operated the Top Karting racetrack in the industrial park since 1999.

"Just getting a liquor licence takes six months, and I would already have to have a new place," said Bélanger in a French-language interview with Radio-Canada.

"[The timeline] doesn't hold up. It's really improvised."

'We have no choice'

Radio-Canada has counted roughly 40 businesses in the industrial park that could be expropriated to build the new hospital, which was initially slated to go on the city's outskirts before backlash caused the province to consider sites closer to downtown.

Fares Chebley, whose french fry distribution business Aliments Chebley is located in the industrial park, says he's already looking for a new location.

"It's stressful," he said in French. "You can't say it's an easy thing, but you have to live with it. We have no choice."

The hospital is not expected to open for another decade.

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