A top American official with the Shriners hospital says the group has postponed its plans to build a new facility in N.D.G. after its endowment fund lost $3 billion dollars during the recession.

Gene Bracewell, the Atlanta-based imperial treasurer of the Shriners, tells CTV News that all Shriners projects are on hold for the time being until the economy recovers. That includes a proposed new hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, Bracewell said Wednesday in a telephone interview.


A local official imediately contradicted Bracewell on Wednesday.

Gary Morrison, director of Montreal Shriner's Hospital, told CTV News that there is no delay.

"The answer is no, there has been no indication that this project is on hold," he said.

It's yet the latest turn in a saga that saw the Shriners threaten to leave Montreal for Ontario in 2005 before doing an about-face and announcing it was moving its aging facility to N.D.G. from Cedar Ave. on Mount Royal.

The $100 million Shriners hospital project is scheduled to be built next to the English superhospital at the Glen Yards near Vendome metro station.