Hospital construction delay deja vu

There’s another hospital project in Montreal that’s also behind schedule and over budget

The recent story about construction on a new Montreal hospital being a decade behind schedule and massively over budget, before ground has even been broken, has me feeling some deja vu.

Last spring, construction began on a new McGill “superhospital.” That project was originally proposed in 1992 and at one point was scheduled to open in 2005. Now it’s scheduled to open in 2014. It’s over budget and you know what else is familiar, most of the delays were due to political meddling.

While many of the delays caused by Quebec City have affected both projects, some may have been for different reasons.

While the Université de Montréal project has been plagued by delays from the start and has struggled to find a site, the McGill project has had fewer problems. But that may have been the problem, that it would look bad for an “English” hospital to be built before a “French” one. While Premier Jean Charest has denied this, he’s not exactly the most trusted man in Quebec.

The U de M project on the other hand is somewhat higher profile, in terms of Quebec politics, which has led to the projects’ location being the subject of power struggles both between the government and the university and within the government.