Ninety percent of the planning phase is complete for the Cariboo Memorial Hospital redevelopment project, Interior Health Authority hospital director Derek Keller told city council and staff during a plenary meeting of the committee on Tuesday 17 May.

“We hope in the next few weeks to move into the planning phase 100%,” Keller said, confirming that Interior Health is in negotiations with the contractor, Graham Design Builders LP.

The redevelopment will be carried out in two phases.

In the first phase, a new three-storey building will be constructed which will house the emergency department, the medical-surgical units, the maternity ward and the pharmacy.

With the new maternities, women will all work, give birth and recover in the same room.

“It’s best practice and something that’s happening across the country,” Keller said, adding there will be five maternity wards. “We won’t lose any with the new build, but we won’t gain any either.”

Once completed, the second phase will see the renovation of the existing hospital building, with a second floor converted into an inpatient psychiatric facility. The current emergency room will be renovated to accommodate the ambulatory care service.

Medical records will also be updated.

Keller noted that with the upgrade, the hospital will receive 16 new inpatient beds, bringing the current number of beds from 20 to 36, not including six psychiatric beds, maternity beds and acute care beds. , which will be close to 50.

Once the shovels are in, the parking lot will be the first phase of the project.

“We need to create more parking spaces because we will lose a lot with the new construction. Once this is all over we will have more parking spaces but at this point I don’t know.

It is hoped construction of the parking lot will begin in the fall, he added, noting that no work can be done until late August as the birds’ nests and eggs are protected during the nesting season.

Parking for construction crews could also be an issue, and economic development manager Beth Veenkamp said land at 560 Broadway Avenue had been secured for the staging.

“There might be room to park there,” she said.

Com. Jason Ryll said one of his concerns was finding enough construction workers and whether that could “derail” the project.

While labor shortages are a reality across the province, Keller said they’re working with the company that’s ready when they get the go-ahead to put shovels in the ground.

Ryll also asked if there will be a net increase in jobs at the hospital at the end of the project, to which Keller replied “yes”.

With an increase in the number of beds, there will be more nurses, housekeeping and probably food and support services, and the inpatient psychiatric unit will have its own staff, he said. Explain.

As of April 2021, the estimated cost of the redevelopment was $217.5 million.

Appearing by Video Coun. Scott Nelson asked if the estimated cost of the project had increased due to chain supply issues and whether the provincial government had given the green light to an updated amount or asked that the budget remain the same and that cuts be made inside the hospital.

“I am not aware of any decision by the government to increase funding for the project in the event of cost increases,” Keller said.

Mayor Cobb said the numbers won’t be finalized until the design phase is complete anyway.

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