North end hospital to open in April

  • Feb. 27, 2008 12:00 p.m.

By Alex Rinfret–Northern Health expects that the new north-end hospital will be finished sometime in April – 11 months after the project was originally scheduled to be completed. Mike Hoefer, executive director of capital planning and support services for Northern Health, said the health centre isn’t finished yet is because there was a delay in the awarding of the construction contract, followed by several other delays caused by weather and by challenges in getting technical workers here. The delays have resulted in a budget shortfall of about $2-million, and it’s still not clear where a portion of that will come from. Mr. Hoefer said Northern Health has agreed to pay 60 percent of the shortfall, and has asked the Northwest Regional Hospital District to cover the remaining 40 percent, or $800,000. The Northwest Regional Hospital District is already paying a 40 percent share of the original project budget of $9.5-million, Mr. Hoefer said. Northern Health’s request is on the agenda for the hospital district’s March meeting. The three north-end villages – Old Massett, Masset and Port Clements – are paying the other 60 percent of the original budget, and are not going to be affected by the cost overrun at this point, Mr. Hoefer said. The villages borrowed the money and the lease payments from Northern Health for the facility have been calibrated to match the payback schedule. Meanwhile, Northern Health has not yet decided what to name the new facility. Mr. Hoefer said the organization has a complicated naming policy but basically, the name will be chosen by the Northern Health board based on a recommendation from the chief executive, who relies on input from a local health committee. Northern Health will have to choose a name at its March meeting if the name is to be ready for April, when the health centre is scheduled to be finished, Mr. Hoefer said. “We’re trying, but we’re not absolutely sure we’ll have a board-approved one” by the time the building opens, he said. Members of the public who have ideas for names for the new health centre should pass them on to members of the health committee. The committee includes representatives from the three villages.