Design of new Queen Charlotte hospital released

  • Jul. 5, 2013 8:00 a.m.

The design of the new Queen Charlotte hospital and some of the key people who will be constructing the $50-million building were unveiled at a public presentation last week in Skidegate. The new hospital will include eight acute care beds, eight residential care beds and a labour and delivery room, and will be one of the largest buildings ever constructed on Haida Gwaii. “This is such an exciting time for us,” said Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha. “It’s been 20 years in the making… A tremendous team effort.” The new hospital will be built at the same site where the existing hospital stands. Once construction is complete, the old hospital will be torn down to make room for parking. Sheila Gordon-Payne, Northern Health northwest health service administrator, said at over 60 years old, the existing hospital has had its day. The new facility won’t have any additional services, but it will be a better and easier place to work or receive treatment. Once it’s complete in the fall of 2015, islanders will never again have to share a hospital room, will never have to talk about private medical problems in a crowded hallway, and will never be unloaded from the ambulance in full view of anyone on Oceaview Drive, said administrator Kerry Laidlaw. “It’s going to be bigger, more comfortable, it’s definitely going to be better,” Mr. Laidlaw said, pointing out one of his favourite features, a room that has space for up to 12 family members to stay with a loved one around the clock. “The staff are excited… The design was driven by the clinical staff.” The hospital’s construction will create an estimated 189 direct jobs and 143 indirect jobs, Ms Gordon-Payne said – a huge economic impact in a community the size of Queen Charlotte. One member of the public wondered where everyone will live. A manager from Bouygues Building Canada, the firm that will be handling construction, said they will be looking for accommodation here, but also hope to hire local workers who already have homes. Another islander. Don Plumb, said he was concerned about the toxicity of some building materials, such as MDF and particle board, and the oil used in making concrete forms. Northern Health’s Peter Kallos responded that the hospital will be built to the LEED gold standard, which means it will have to meet high standards in energy and environmental design. Architect Kirsten Reite also responded. “The firm I work for, Perkins and Will, we’re the badass of the industry,” when it comes to environmental standards, she said, explaining that the company has scientists on staff who examine materials for the very issues raised by Mr. Plumb, and won’t use anything that is toxic or dangerous unless there is no other choice. “Whatever we can eliminate here, we will.”