Province spending $7.3 million to replace aging power plant
The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s campus in Wallaceburg will receive $7.3 million from the province to help replace its aging power plant. Lori Marshall, president and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, said funding to support the construction of a new $8-million power plant is the first step in renewing the facilities at the Wallaceburg site. The balance of the project’s expense will be funded by the Health Alliance.
Once completed, the new facility will replace aging infrastructure with new boilers, generators and electrical distribution equipment to meet the future needs of the community. Previous administrators had argued that the Wallaceburg site’s aging building was not worth a major expenditure. Marshall said the philosophy of the current administration is that health care close to home is a good thing.
“We believe that both of our hospitals are assets to the organization,” she said. “They have different roles, so you won’t see a duplication of services at both sites.” The Health Alliance plans to renew both hospital sites over the next 15 to 20 years. Marshall said there will be further redevelopment of the Wallaceburg campus in the future. “We think that major components of this building continue to offer an infrastructure that we can use and then we will look to new build as well and add on to it and allow us to go on into the future,” she said. Infighting among the former Health Alliance administration and two former boards had led the province to bring in a hospital supervisor who dismantled the three boards and created a single board.
The expansion is part of the province’s plan to update hospital infrastructure in Chatham-Kent and follows the Ministry’s 2017 approval for $1.5 million under the Hospital Energy Efficiency Program (HEEP) to replace old heating and cooling distribution equipment at the Wallaceburg site. The hospital will now engage the architectural design team and tender the project later in 2018. Construction is expected the be complete in 2019.
The old power plant will be demolished once the new power plant is operational.