The excavation work is done, and now crews are working on building the foundation of what will be a $2.6-billion hospital just west of Montreal.
It's a hospital the community needs.
As it stands, residents of Vaudreuil-Soulanges — a regional county municipality in Quebec that includes suburbs like Vaudreuil-Dorion, Saint-Lazare, Hudson and L'Île-Perrot — have to travel to hospitals outside the area for hospital care.
And the number of people in need of that care has been steadily increasing, according to Jade St-Jean, spokesperson for the local health authority, CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest.
"So, of course, that puts pressure on Valleyfield and Châteauguay hospitals, also Lakeshore, so this hospital is very needed," she said, as she and other officials gave the media a tour of the construction site on Monday.
The new hospital will have more than 400 beds to serve the community. There will be 11 operating rooms and a neonatal intensive care unit — services people are currently travelling to Montreal for.
"So for all of Montérégie-Ouest, a lot of new services will be provided to the population," said St-Jean.
The hospital will be located at the intersection of Harwood Road and Cité-des-Jeunes Boulevard. It will be divided into two wings, with the first being the main entrance, auditorium and clinics.
The second wing will have the emergency department with a capacity of 41 stretchers, said Jean Provencher, the hospital's operations director.
The new hospital will need to recruit nearly 5,000 staff. An international campaign to attract employees has been launched.
Phillipe Gribeauval, president and director general of the health agency, said there will also be recent graduates available as CEGEPs and other institutions accelerate health training with help from the CIUSSS.
The project has been in the planning for four years, and the hospital is expected to welcome its first patients in 2026.
Excavation of the site got underway a year ago, with Minister of Health Christian Dubé on the 25-hectare site as the mechanical shovels broke ground.
At that time, the project was estimated at $1.7 billion.
The need for a hospital in the region has been known for some time as the population has been growing.
In 2010, Quebec's Liberal government, led by Jean Charest, had planned to build one by 2018. But, a zoning issue delayed Quebec's acquisition of the land.
The current site was purchased in 2019 under the Coalition Avenir Québec government.