Cost overruns at Masset hospital

  • Dec. 19, 2007 8:00 p.m.

Northern Health and the North West Regional Hospital District board will be meeting in January to talk about who will be footing the bill for cost overruns at the new Massett hospital. Mike Hoefer, Northern Health’s executive director of capital planning and support, said the hospital needs an extra $500,000 to $600,000 worth of work before it’s completed. Northern Health has asked the regional hospital district board to pay for 40 percent of this plus other increases to the budget which were made earlier, Mr. Hoefer said. The regional hospital district board has asked Northern Health for some more information about some of the extra costs, he said, and the two groups are planning to meet in January to go over the situation. “This project is very complicated,” he said. In general, the cost overruns are due to two factors, Mr. Hoefer said. The first is that several things ended up having to be done slightly differently than planned during construction. All of them are minor, but the costs added up. These “change orders”, as they’re called, also lead to construction delays, and this ends up causing additional costs for labour and insurance, he explained. Construction was also delayed by weather and by problems finding skilled workers, who are in demand all over the province. Although Northern Health has requested more money from the regional hospital district, not receiving it right away won’t delay the project, Mr. Hoefer said. Northern Health is covering the costs and completing the hospital for now. The building should be finished by February or March, and will be operating as a hospital shortly after that. The $9.5-million building is being funded by up to $6-million borrowed by Masset on behalf of itself, Old Massett and Port Clements, and another $3.5-million from the North West Regional Hospital Board.