Pre­mier Dwight Ball pleased ma­jor health-care projects are on track

Con­struc­tion of new acute-care hospi­tal in Cor­ner Brook will start in 2019

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE KEARSEY

Pre­mier Dwight Ball was in an up­beat mood Fri­day know­ing his Lib­eral gov­ern­ment is on track with its prom­ise to have a new acute-care hospi­tal built in Cor­ner Brook over a four-year pe­riod with con­struc­tion start­ing in 2019.

Ball, with MHAs Ed­die Joyce, Gerry Byrne, Scott Reid and John Finn on hand, pro­vided an up­date on health-care in­fra­struc­ture on the west coast dur- ing a news con­fer­ence Fri­day morn­ing on the 10th floor of Sir Richard Squires Build­ing in Cor­ner Brook.

Ball an­nounced the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has is­sued a Re­quest for Qual­i­fi­ca­tions to es­tab­lish an in­dus­try short list to so­licit pro­pos­als for the new 164-bed acute-care fa­cil­ity that will in­clude the same ser­vices as the cur­rent Western Me­mo­rial Re­gional Hospi­tal, but also a cancer-care pro­gram to of­fer ra­di­a­tion ser­vices that many peo­ple on the west coast have been fight­ing for in the last num­ber of years.

Like the long-term fa­cil­ity al­ready un­der con­struc­tion, Ball said the new fa­cil­ity will be de­signed, built, fi­nanced and main­tained by the pri­vate sec­tor. More im­por­tantly, he wanted peo­ple to keep in mind that ser­vices such as pa­tient care, house­keep­ing and food ser­vices would be pro­vided by public­sec­tor em­ploy­ees as it cur­rently stands with the ex­ist­ing fa­cil­ity.

Af­ter gov­ern­ment gets the Re­quest for Qual­i­fi­ca­tions out of the way, Ball said a Re­quest for Pro­pos­als will be is­sued to qual­i­fy­ing firms and a bee­hive of ac­tiv­ity will be ex­pected when con­struc­tion starts next year.

Ball said a com­pre­hen­sive value-for-money as­sess­ment for the long-term care project has con­cluded that part­ner­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor will re­sult in sav­ings of 10 per cent over the 30-year agree­ment — up from the orig­i­nally es­ti­mated 8.9 per cent — for a to­tal es­ti­mated sav­ings of $14.6 mil­lion and the fi­nal value-for-money as­sess­ment is avail­able for public view­ing.

“What we’re get­ting is bet­ter value for the in­vest­ment that we are mak­ing and that is proven with the fi­nan­cial close in­for­ma­tion that we will be re­leas­ing to­day,” he said.

The two projects com­bined, ac­cord­ing to Ball, will cre­ate sig­nif­i­cant em­ploy­ment and al­most a half- bil­lion dol­lars in eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity dur­ing the con­struc­tion phase.

“It’s a sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic ben­e­fit to the western re­gion,” he said.

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