New hospital is nearly ready

Haida Gwaii’s new hospital is expected to open by mid-November.

Haida Gwaii’s new hospital is expected to open by mid-November.

This week, a team from Northern Health is inspecting “every square inch” of the new hospital in Queen Charlotte to make sure it meets the building code and clinical standards, says Peter Kallos, Northern Health’s director of development services.

“We want to make sure that from a healthcare perspective, there’s absolutely no compromise,” said Kallos.

“We’re certainly paying for it and we want to make sure they get it right.”

Built by Bouygues Building Canada, the $50-million hospital project hit a snag late last year when a Northern Health inspector found cladding on the new roof failed to meet code.

It took until June before the contractor agreed to fix it, but Kallos said the work is nearly finished now.

Asked about the hospital’s expected lifespan, Kallos said it’s hard to know. The roof alone is built to last 50 years.

“The old hospital became obsolete not so much because it was falling down—it just didn’t meet current standards,” he said.

“We’ve seen huge advances in medicine, and the building needs to match that.”

When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Haida Gwaii Sept. 30, they will tour the hospital’s top floor, stopping in the labour and delivery room to speak with people about giving birth on the islands.

No date has been set yet for the hospital’s opening ceremony, but it will most likely be sometime in late October or early November.

“It will be much more community-focused,” said Kallos.

“With the long time it’s taken to get the hospital approved and constructed, and all the local funding that needs to be the focus.”

Originally expected to be finished last year, the new hospital will replace Queen Charlotte Islands General, which opened in 1955.