'A huge blow': Plans for medical clinic at Dawson College shelved
Plans for a new pavilion and medical clinic at Dawson College in Montreal have been shelved by the province, and many supporters of the project are feeling disappointed.
“It came as a huge blow,” said Alexandrah Cardona of the Dawson Student Union. “We’re looking at somewhat of a grim picture for the overall community.”
The clinic would have been open to the general public.
According to faculty member Tim Miller, “If you’re waiting to get an x-ray or an ultrasound test done, if you’re looking to get your blood pressure checked, some blood work done, we’d be able to do physiotherapy technology services as well as social work services from this clinic.”
Whether this is still a possibility remains unclear.
Premier Francois Legault, opting to prioritize projects in French-language colleges instead, said there’s a limit on construction and simply too many projects in the works.
“For schools, for hospitals, for roads, so it’s important to put top priorities in the right place,” he said.
Dawson says the clinic would have been able to serve thousands of people every year, and make for more realistic, interdisciplinary learning before medical students start work in a health network stretched thin by staff shortages.
Supporters say it’s a loss for the neighbourhood and the province overall.
“At this late stage, when the demand is there […] to find out that its been withdrawn because of the language in which the instruction was to occur? I can’t help but think that perhaps the CAQ government is looking in the wrong place to find its priority,” said Matt Aronson of the Quebec Community Groups Network, an advocacy group for linguistic minorities.
The expansion was also to help ease overcrowding at Dawson.
Legault advised the college to rent more space if it needs it — but some say the school’s needs are specialized, and rented room won’t work.
“Without this tailored space, there’s no way to achieve where we were headed,” said Miller.
Miller says the faculty is discussing how to move forward without government support.