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19th of October 2018


Dix reveals Phase 2 of Royal Columbian project will be a design-build

The second phase of the three-phase, $1.35-billion revitalization project includes a new acute-care tower and expanded emergency department

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy — along with Jim Sinclair and Dr. Anson Koo from the Fraser Health Authority — revealed the plans for Phase 2 of Royal Columbian Hospital revitalization project in New Westminster on Saturday afternoon. Jason Payne / Postmedia News

The B.C. government revealed Saturday afternoon that the second phase of the Royal Columbian Hospital revitalization project will be a design-build project owned and operated by Fraser Health, rather than the previously approved public-private partnership.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy made the announcement on a construction site at Royal Columbian in New Westminster, where contractors, Fraser Health Authority and hospital staff watched as a crane operator lifted a steel beam they had signed to celebrate the project’s progress.

Dix said that while the hospital’s three-phase, $1.35-billion revitalization was announced by the previous B.C. Liberals government, his government — as well as the Fraser Health executive and Treasury Board — determined it would be best to move away from a public-private partnership for the second phase.

“We felt design-build made more sense here, it makes more sense for the workers here, it keeps our hospital team together over the period of construction, which is one of the most important hospitals in British Columbia,” Dix said.

“It gives us more control to make decisions around maintenance over time and we are convinced it was the right way to go.”

Dix said the change will not increase the project’s estimated budget.

The second phase includes a new acute-care tower and expanded emergency department, and its facilities will include 229 new beds, more MRI scanners, a neonatal intensive-care unit and a rooftop heliport. Construction is expected to be completed in 2024.

On Thursday, the government will issue a request for qualifications for the design and build.

A third phase, expected to start when the second is completed, will expand on existing parts of the hospital including laboratories, medical imaging, pharmacy and food services, and will include the renovation of medical-surgical in-patient rooms.

The project’s first phase, which includes a 36,500 square-metre mental health and substance-use wellness centre, is expected to open in 2020. It replaces the aging 30-bed Sherbrook Centre and will serve hundreds more patients each year.

That phase will bring another 75 treatment beds, including a 20-bed older-adult psychiatric unit, a 10-bed high-psychiatric high-acuity unit and 45 beds for acute mental-health in-patient care.

Another 105 beds are slated to open next year at a new mental health and addictions centre on the Riverview lands in Coquitlam. The $101-million project was also announced by the previous government and replaces the aging Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, which has 94 beds.

Meantime, B.C.’s overdose-related public health emergency continues to kill roughly four people each day.

Darcy said her government is working to expand treatment services, and has a therapeutic recovery community on Vancouver Island and a youth-treatment facility in Chilliwack on the way.

“We’re working very hard on a wide array of options for people because for some people, if they have the most acute mental illness or acute substance use, they may need to be in a treatment facility, for others, it’s outpatient support,” she said.

“There isn’t one size fits all but this (Royal Columbian facility) is a really, really important part of the picture.”

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