© Diane Crocker
Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis, centre, speaks to workers following a press conference at the department’s regional depot in Corner Brook on Wednesday.
CORNER BROOK A visit to Corner Brook by any provincial cabinet minister wouldn’t be complete without some sort of question or comment on the long-awaited new regional hospital.
It was no different Wednesday when Natural Resources Minister Tom Marshall took the opportunity to add a plug for the hospital during a road-work funding announcement.
“I’d like to see you start that hospital,” said Marshall after thanking Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis for the province’s investment in area roads.
“You’re going to build that,” he added to a loud round of applause.
Following the road funding announcement, Davis said that the programming and design work on the new hospital is underway.
“It’s being worked on as we speak,” he said, but added he couldn’t commit on a timeline for when construction of the estimated $525- to $600-million facility will begin.
“In a project like this there’s a significant amount of planning, engineering and design that has to take place before actual concrete and steel are actually erected,” said Davis.
The minister described the ongoing process as being similar to the building of a house. First, he said, you need to determine what you want in it and then, when you decide how big it is going to be, you start getting to the specifics of what will be included.
“Until this phase of work is completed I wouldn’t be able to give you a more solid timeline,” said Davis. “As time goes on and you do these things, you get a better idea of your timelines. You know what’s involved, you get better costing and those types of assessments.”
He said the the Department of Health is focusing on the programming phase of the project with input from Western Health, project consultants and his department.
In August, Health Minister Susan Sullivan said she expected the functional plan would be completed by Stantec by the end of this year and that construction on the hospital should begin in 2015.