New hospital plans unveiled

  • Oct. 6, 2010 5:00 p.m.

Queen Charlotte residents got a first peek at plans for their new hospital at Monday night’s village council meeting (Oct. 4). With administrator Kerry Laidlaw holding up a series of large drawings and plans, Northern Health’s Peter Kallos told council members that planning is proceeding well and the target completion date is 2014. “This project has gotten off to a terrific start,” he said. “We’re off to the races, and I’m pleased to say we’re right on schedule.” Architect Tony Read of Musson Cattell Mackay Partnership said the plan for how all the rooms will be situated is almost complete, but he wants to hear the public’s opinion about the exterior and interior design for the 40,000 square foot building, which will combine the hospital and health clinic. He presented two possible interior designs, a water theme and a forest theme, and said the team is hoping to commission a couple of large pieces of First Nations artwork. The new building will be two stories high and more than twice the size of the existing hospital. It will be built behind where the existing building sits. “We do have to keep the existing hospital working while we build the new hospital, which presents a number of challenges,” Mr. Read said. “And we’re going to excavate quite a large piece of rock so we can get the hospital as low as possible.” Mr. Read and Mr. Laidlaw said the new hospital will have special features like two decks overlooking Skidegate Inlet so palliative and long-term care patients can get outside, a multipurpose room that can accommodate lots of family members, a larger pharmacy, and details to ensure patients have dignity and privacy. The new hospital will be constructed mostly of concrete and steel, with a wood and stone exterior, Mr. Read said. It has been designed to allow for expansion, or for the rooms to be rearranged to accommodate future advances in medical technology. “Medicine keeps on changing and the hospital must be able to change,” said mayor Carol Kulesha. She added that when she worked at the hospital as a nurse, many years ago, the pharmacy was the size of a closet and there were no services like chemotherapy. The drawings and plans will be on display in the hospital soon, Mr. Laidlaw said. People who want to share their opinions and comments about the building should contact Ms Kulesha.