There has been another step forward in the long-delayed development of a new Batshaw facility in the West Island.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé and Junior Health Minister Lionel Carmant said in a press release the project has entered a new phase.
“I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Katherine Moxness, Youth Program Director with the West Island CIUSSS.
Health officials say the project has a new phase of accelerated planning, in which a full business plan will be presented.
“We’ll look at the best real estate options, we look at finalizing the architectural drawings, we look at finalizing the budget and making sure that we have looked at all levels of risk,” Moxness explained. She said the new facility is now on Quebec’s list of infrastructure projects, which means it will advance.
The government is injecting $10 million to move things forward.
“That’s the money to really consolidate all the clinical work that we’ve done and all the writing that we’ve done and all the planning that we’ve done to date and really ensure that it’s going to be a lasting project over time and that we’re meeting the needs,” said Moxness.
The construction of a new youth protection facility in Beaconsfield has been marred with delays since its initial groundbreaking in 2013. It was supposed to be open by 2015.
“We know a lot of the infrastructure in the province and in the City of Montreal is outdated, so this modern facility for youth at risk is really, really needed,” said Jacques-Cartier MNA Greg Kelley, celebrating the project’s advancement.
The pandemic has been partly to blame for the most recent delay, as the buildings already constructed were repurposed for COVID testing.
“The objective behind this project is to develop the best possible long-term real estate solution to better meet the needs of our young people and their stakeholders, on the same site. This will make it easier to bring together expertise on site, in order to provide support that is even better suited to their reality, while optimizing the services offered and promoting exchanges. We want to be present for our young people,” said Dubé.
The plan is to add four more buildings to the grounds.
“We’re calling it a village,” said Moxness. “It may evolve over time, but it’s really it’s going to have an activity centre, a school, three additional units.”
Batshaw will be able to vacate its Dorval building for some much needed renovations and transfer teens to Beaconsfield from their facility in Prevost, giving them a better shot at reintegration
“On the campus, it will really be youth between the ages of 12 and 18, girls and boys that require structured settings,” Moxness explained.
If all goes well there will be a call for tender this fall, and construction will begin soon after.
“For the full campus, we’ve got a timeline of 2027,” said Moxness.
That estimate assumes there will be no more delays.