The official ground-breaking ceremony for the new $10-million hospital in Masset was held Wednesday morning (July 12), attended by representatives of islands communities as well as Northern Health and the builders.
“This is really a great day. It’s been a long time coming, it’s been overdue,” said Northern Health Chair Jeff Burghardt, “We can already see footings in the ground and know this project in Masset is actually for real.”
Mr. Burghardt also stressed the community nature of the project.
“Masset, Old Massett and Port Clements, you all have worked together very, very hard to make this happen.
You folks have really gone to the wall to make this happen and you are to be commended for that,”
Then he said it would never have happened without the efforts of Barry Pages.
“I want to thank your mayor, Barry Pages. Barry is the one who has made this project happen,” he said, ” Barry has been the emissary to all the other partners. He has been relentless in wanting to see this happen. Without Barry’s efforts none of this would have happened,” Mr. Burghardt said.
Chief Iljawass-Reynold Russ said
it’s going to be wonderful to see the hospital when it is complete a year from now, adding “I take this opportunity to say thank you to all those people who worked so hard to make this happen.”
Old Massett’s Chief Councillor Elizabeth Moore said “I am really proud our communities are working together in partnership.” She also encouraged young people to think about working in health care
“We need to constantly encourage our young people to get some education so we can fill this hospital with local people, Ms Moore said.”
Council of the Haida Nation President Guujaaw said the collaboration between the communities is a good lesson for us, and “I think it is a real positive step and I look forward to coming here. Visiting.”
CHN Vice-Presdient Arnie Bellis said “what I see here is cooperation between three communities and that synergy is going to create more. Times are changing and we have to absorb that change and be honest with each other and see our place on this wonderful island.”
With that, a group assembled with brand-new gold coloured shovels to break the sod, which someone noted had already been broken, as the footings for the building are almost ready to be poured.
The facility, between Masset and Old Massett, is funded by the regional hospital district and the villages of Port Clements and Masset and Old Massett. Northern Health will lease it from the three villages and also pay $650,000 of the capital cost.
It’s being built by Grand Construction of Langley and is expected to be finished next year.
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