‘Brand new hos­pi­tal’ the goal

The Chatham Daily News - - NEWS - DAVID GOUGH

The re­de­vel­op­ment of Wal­lace­burg’s Sy­den­ham Dis­trict Hos­pi­tal will oc­cur over the next 15 to 20 years but will re­sult in an al­most new hos­pi­tal, say Chatham-Kent Health Al­liance of­fi­cials.

An open house to see re­de­vel­op­ment plans for the Health Al­liance’s Wal­lace­burg site was held re­cently to give the com­mu­nity an idea about fu­ture plans and to ask ques­tions.

The first stage of the re­de­vel­op­ment is the hos­pi­tal’s power plant – which in­cludes re­plac­ing ag­ing equip­ment with new boil­ers, gen­er­a­tors and elec­tri­cal dis­tri­bu­tion equip­ment.

Jerome Quen­neville, the health al­liance’s vice-pres­i­dent and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, said the hos­pi­tal is work­ing through draw­ings and de­sign fea­tures for the pro­posed power plant. The de­signs have been ap­proved by Chatham-Kent coun­cil; the next stage is Min­istry of Health ap­proval.

Quen­neville said get­ting the power plant ap­provals is a long process.

“I hate that it’s tak­ing so long to get some­thing so use­ful for the com­mu­nity, but it’s the way it needs to be done in health care,” he said.

The power plant is seen as the first step at re­new­ing the fa­cil­i­ties at the Wal­lace­burg site, and helps con­firm the health al­liance’s com­mit­ment to pro­gram and ser­vice de­liv­ery in the com­mu­nity, he added.

Health al­liance of­fi­cials said they’re tak­ing a staged ap­proach in re­de­vel­op­ing the Wal­lace­burg hos­pi­tal.

The ten­der for the power plant will be is­sued the next few months, with a con­trac­tor ex­pected to be se­lected by spring. Quen­neville said work should be­gin by early sum­mer.

“We’re look­ing at a staged im­prove­ment that would ac­tu­ally look at get­ting prac­ti­cally a brand new hos­pi­tal at the cur­rent site,” he said.

Pa­per­work for the next stages for the de­vel­op­ment has al­ready been cre­ated and sub­mit­ted, Quen­neville said. He added the next stages will start be­fore the power plant is com­pleted.

“(We’re) look­ing at putting an ad­di­tion on that would add ad­di­tional space so we can ad­dress some of the older in­fra­struc­ture and take out some of the older in­fra­struc­ture for the hos­pi­tal and re­ally take ad­van­tage of this beau­ti­ful site and build up the ser­vices here in Wal­lace­burg,” he said.

Fund­ing for the Sy­den­ham cam­pus was made by the pre­vi­ous Liberal gov­ern­ment prior to the June pro­vin­cial elec­tion. The On­tario gov­ern­ment will pro­vide a $7.3-mil­lion grant to­wards the pro­ject’s es­ti­mated $8-mil­lion cost. The rest of the money will come from hos­pi­tal funds.

Af­ter the elec­tion, there was a pos­si­bil­ity the new Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment would go in a new di­rec­tion, but it ap­pears they’re hon­our­ing the pre­vi­ous fund­ing com­mit­ments, as the prov­ince also re­cently said it will re­build a hos­pi­tal in Grimsby.

Quen­nville said it’s en­cour­ag­ing to see the new gov­ern­ment pay at­ten­tion to small hospi­tals and mak­ing good in­vest­ments in in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port the com­mu­nity.

The next stages will re­quire a com­mu­nity con­tri­bu­tion of 10 per cent of the build­ing cost and all of the equip­ment cost.

“It usu­ally works out to a third of the pro­ject cost,” Quen­neville said.

The health al­liance plans to re­new both of its hospi­tals over the next 15 to 20 years.

DAVID GOUGH/POST­MEDIA NEWS

Terra Kitzul Aren, an ar­chi­tect with the Chatham-Kent Health Al­liance, leads a tour of the Sy­den­ham Dis­trict Hos­pi­tal dur­ing a re­cent open house to dis­cuss the re­de­vel­op­ment plans for the hos­pi­tal which are sched­uled to take place in a staged ap­proach over the next 15-20 years.

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