For Immediate Release
April 12, 2012
Ministry of Health
Province to move ahead with new hospital at Burns Lake
BURNS LAKE – The Province today announced that it is moving ahead with plans for a Lakes District Hospital replacement in Burns Lake as a part of Budget 2012. The announcement comes less than three months after the tragic events on Jan. 20, 2012 when a fire destroyed the local sawmill.
“I’d like to acknowledge and thank both the Lakes District Hospital staff and local residents for the care and support provided to workers that were injured when the local sawmill was destroyed by fire. This was a terrible tragedy and the provincial government wants to ensure that everything is done to help families recover,” said Health Minister Michael de Jong. “The new hospital that is being announced today for Burns Lake will allow health professionals to continue giving high levels of support for those in need.”
“Burns Lake has been in need of a new hospital for some time. This has been my number one capital priority as well as Northern Health's. Today’s announcement that the Province is moving forward with construction of a replacement care facility is great news,” said Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.
It is anticipated the new facility will go to procurement later this year, with construction expected to start in 2013 and be completed in 2015. The project will generate approximately 200 direct jobs.
“I am elated to hear that a new hospital for Burns Lake has been approved, this hospital will increase our level of health care services, create local jobs, and bring comfort to families and businesses in the Lakes District,” said Village of Burns Lake mayor Luke Strimbold, “Community groups, individuals, the regional hospital district and former councils have been working with Northern Health and the provincial government towards a hospital replacement for many years. On behalf of Village Council, I would like to thank everyone for their efforts; we can now celebrate our success. Northern Health engaged the community and requested input during the initial design stages for the new hospital and we look forward to continuing our working relationship as construction begins and health care capacity is increased in our community.”
Examples of possible features for the facility include up to 16 beds, acute care services, emergency services, diagnostic imaging, a laboratory and pharmacy. There are also plans at the new hospital for a procedure room large enough to be used as an operating room in an emergency.
“The residents, physicians and the staff at Lakes District Hospital have all been eagerly awaiting good news on a replacement hospital,” said Michael McMillan, Northern Interior chief operating officer, Northern Health. “Thank you to the provincial government, Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District, and advocates of this project to assist with moving this project forward.”
Anticipated cost of the new hospital is in the range of $50 million to $55 million and will be refined once the tendering process is complete and a contract awarded. Funding will be cost-shared by the Province and Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District.
“It’s a great day for all people of Burns Lake and it has been a long time coming,” said Ralph Roy, chair of the Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District. “Thank you to government, Northern Health, regional district staff and all those dedicated towards the new hospital replacement who can now see our hard work has paid off.”
The current Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre in Burns Lake was built in 1962 and refurbishing was deemed too costly. Since 2001, the Ministry of Health has provided approximately $500,000 to the Northern Health authority in support of improving the condition of the facility.
“A new hospital will ensure health professionals can continue to provide high-quality care, as they did following the sawmill tragedy. When the project gets underway, the jobs created will help maintain support for Burns Lake in the months ahead,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell.
Since 2001, more than $7 billion has been spent on health capital projects in British Columbia. Over the next three years, British Columbia’s health care system will benefit from investments such as new medical equipment and modernized health facilities as part of a $2.3-billion health sector capital plan. This includes investments like a new Lakes District Hospital as well as the Cancer Centre for the North in Prince George and Fort St John Hospital – both due to open later this year.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
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