Design work continues for planned new hospital

Construction contract still in the works

A design for the new Mills Memorial Hospital has yet to be completed as health care officials continue to work toward what they expect will be a deal that will result in a construction start this spring of a $447.5 million replacement for the current facility.

Northern Health is meeting with hospital staff and physicians this month with the goal of reaching a 60 per cent design completion.

It indicated last year that an earlier design submitted to the provincial government for approval is being replaced with a new one but it has yet to release details.

That first design is now nearly four years old and while it was the one used to gain provincial approval, it is in need of an update based on new information.

A preferred contractor, PCL Construction, has already been chosen but Northern Health is set to review an updated financial submission which must also be approved by the province.

“Start of construction (potentially late spring/summer 2021) is dependent on when a design-build agreement between Northern Health and the proponent is signed,” indicates minutes of a January meeting between Northern Health and a select group of local residents representing local First Nations, the City of Terrace and the North West Regional Hospital District.

Those minutes also emphasized the builder’s responsibility in looking at housing options for the outside workers it will bring in and how a local workforce can be used.

“They have a priority of hiring local workers and using local resources within the community,” the minutes added.

The Northern Health Authority is also bringing in a consultant to meet its obligation to meet with Indigenous groups.

“Northern Health aims to build and strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities and partners. Part of that relationship building is engagement throughout the lifecycle of a capital project,” the authority said in the hiring of B.C. resident Michael Bonshor who has a background in deal with economic development and business planning involving First Nations.