Ve­te­rans want fe­de­ral as­su­rance to keep well-used centre open

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

A group of ve­te­rans from the Sain­teAnne-de-Bel­le­vue Ve­te­rans' Hos­pi­tal want a fe­de­ral pro­mise to keep a much-used the­ra­peu­tic centre open once the hos­pi­tal is trans­fer­red to the pro­vin­cial go­vern­ment.

The group has or­ga­ni­zed a pe­ti­tion as­king fe­de­ral de­ci­sion ma­kers to en­sure the Liai­son Centre, a the­ra­peu­tic day centre for au­to­no­mous ve­te­rans, will conti­nue to of­fer its ser­vices once Québec takes over ju­ris­dic­tion of the hos­pi­tal. The pe­ti­tion has been de­po­si­ted with fe­de­ral Li­be­ral MP Fran­cis Scar­pa­leg­gia from the LacSaint-Louis ri­ding that in­cludes the veteran's hos­pi­tal. Scar­pa­leg­gia has said he in­tends to table the pe­ti­tion in the House of Com­mons.

Liai­son Centre, which ope­ned in 1982, gives for­mer sol­diers the chance to do things like use exer­cise equip­ment, en­joy meals and so­cia­lize with other ve­te­rans. The centre al­so has a wood shop, and of­fers things like mas­sage, dis­cus­sion groups and me­mo­ry classes.

Though ver­bal pro­mises have been made to keep the centre open af­ter the trans­fer, those si­gning the pe­ti­tion say they want as­su­rances in wri­ting.

In their do­cu­ment, the group is as­king that Liai­son Centre re­main open and ope­ra­tio­nal as part of the veteran's hos­pi­tal. They would al­so like to see it conti­nue to pro­vide " prio­ri­ty ac­cess" on­site ser­vices to mem­bers of the Sain­teAnne's As­so­cia­tion ofWar Ve­te­rans.

Scar­pa­leg­gia said he's as­ked the go­vern­ment to hold pu­blic mee­tings about the fu­ture of the hos­pi­tal and ser­vices like Liai­son Centre, ad­ding the re­quest has been de­nied. The Lac-SaintLouis MP feels the pe­ti­tion will help keep pres­sure on the go­vern­ment to pro­vide ans­wers.

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