Masset, Old Massett and Port Clements are one step closer to building a brand new hospital and clinic after meeting last week with Northern Health Authority staff, Masset mayor Barry Pages says.
The partnership between the health authority and the three villages is unique, and the project they are working on would be the first of its kind in BC. The groups are proposing that the villages pay for the construction of the new facility, which the health authority would then lease back from them.
“This could be a win-win for everyone involved,” Mr. Pages said. “The communities would be assured of updated treatment facilities. Users would get improved health care and northern health could deliver better service and working conditions without a large capital commitment.”
So far, the new building is in the design-development phase, which the health authority is paying for. It has hired David Nairne and Associates to design the building.
Mr. Pages said the new facility will be approximately 22,000 square feet – over three times the size of the current hospital. It will also house other health services like mental health, speech therapy, and the ambulance bay.
Northern health board member Jeff Burghardt said replacing the Masset hospital is one of the most urgent capital needs in the northern region.
According to the NHA, a lease-back arrangement would allow it to spend more money on services for patients, compared to traditional methods of financing capital projects.
Mr. Pages did not want to talk about where the three communities will come up with the money for the new hospital, although he did say that local taxes will not be used.
“There’s lots of options,” he said. “The idea will be there won’t be any tax dollars going into it… We’re looking at the best option and the best scenario.”
More information will be available at community meetings to be held next month, he said. The meetings will be held March 3 in Port Clements, and March 4 in Masset and Old Massett.
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