Council gets a rundown on new Campbell River hospital plans

The winning company is expected to be awarded the hospital construction contract next February

The Vancouver Island Health Authority plans to move into the new Campbell River hospital in late fall 2017.

Tom Sparrow, chief project officer of the North Island Hospitals Project, gave a 30-minute presentation to city council at Tuesday night’s meeting to give an update on new hospitals for both Campbell River and the Comox Valley.

The winning company is expected to be awarded the hospital construction contract next February and a ground breaking ceremony is expected in either late March or early April 2014. The project is estimated to be complete around March or April 2017.

The new, $266 million hospital will be built on the current hospital site on 2nd Avenue and is expected to be 22,657 square metres in size and have 95 beds. Sparrow said that represents a 69 per cent growth over the existing Campbell River Hospital.

The new facility will also boast a Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Maternal Health, as well as a UBC (University of British Columbia) learning centre.

“There will be a UBC academic program that will enable residents to finish up their residencies in the Comox Valley and here in Campbell River,” Sparrow said.

Other changes will include more single-patient rooms with their own bathroom and hand-wash station, in an effort to stop the spread of infection. The emergency room is expected to be three times larger than the existing one and the hospital will have four operating rooms, 12 surgical day care suites, and five procedure rooms. Sparrow said each room will be “much, much larger than the existing rooms”. There will also be 72 in-patient units, six intensive care units, three pediatric units, and seven maternity rooms for women who will be able to go through labour, give birth, and recover all in one room that will allow for the baby and mother’s partner to stay together during the mother’s hospital stay. Parking will also change, with an underground parkade to raise the total to 450 parking spots.

VIHA has begun clearing the area behind Yucalta Lodge, just off 2nd Avenue, in order to create a 140-space parking lot for staff and visitors.

Sparrow also touched on the public-private partnership model under which the hospital will operate.

Under the P3 model, VIHA will own the building and the property, but a private company will be in charge of maintaining the facility for 30 years.

“It transfers a lot of the risk around scheduling, cost, life cycle, design, and completion to a private company,” Sparrow said of the P3 structure. “VIHA will have 100 per cent of the responsibility for clinical programs, laundry services, and probably housekeeping services on site.”

In terms of business opportunities, the project is expected to create 2,000 direct jobs and more than 1,400 indirect jobs. VIHA is working closely with the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce and will share project information on the Chamber’s Major Projects Portal at: cr.majorprojects.ca

There will also be a business speed dating session May 27 in Campbell River to give businesses an opportunity to meet with the three proponents in the running for the hospital job – Arbutus Healthcare Partners, Plenary Health, and Tandem Health Partners.