Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital covers crumbling facade with fences to keep bricks from falling

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Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in bad shape
WATCH: The Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital's façade is riddled with cracks and bricks are coming loose. As Global's Dan Spector reports, while patients are being treated inside, crews are working outside to install a gigantic metal Band-Aid – Aug 30, 2018

The Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in the east end serves thousands every day.

“This is the heartbeat of the east end of Montreal,” said Maisonneuve-Rosemont Patients’ Committee co-president Rick Smith.

But the old heart is in need of some surgery. During maintenance, workers discovered the facades of the central pavilions are coming apart at the seams.

One crack is about 10-storeys tall.

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“We have discovered on the exterior walls, the bricks are loosening and becoming a danger for the people. Some bricks may fall,” said André Parisé, assistant director of maintenance at the hospital.

At least one hole was visible on Thursday where bricks once were.

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So, what to do?

Hospital officials say redoing the facade is a bit expensive for buildings that are set to be replaced by new ones within a decade.

“Redoing the brick would cost about $48 million,” said Parisé.

The hospital has decided to use metal fences to cover the crumbling walls.

“In order to prevent those from falling, we’re installing fences, as we did last year for another building,” he explained.

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Rolls of metal barriers are unrolled and bolted to the entire face of the pavilion. Parisé believes the solution could potentially last 10 years.

But how would you feel if you looked out your office window, or more importantly, your hospital room and saw a metal fence covering your window?

“You’re already vulnerable when you come here and you see this grillage outside and it doesn’t give you a sense of confidence, does it? said Smith.

The hospital insists everything will be fine and there will be no effect on services.

To the patients’ committee, it’s the inside that counts.

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“The exterior of the hospital is in rough shape, but it’s like an individual. Outside, I can be in bad shape but inside, I have a good heart,” Smith said.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Gaetan Barrette tells Global News the only way to fix such problems is responsible management of public money. They added the ministry knew about the problems with Maisonneuve Rosemont when they announced an ambitious $1.8-billion renovation plan in March.

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