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Premier Ball Premier defends use of P3s for long-term care centre in Corner Brook

An artist’s rendition of what the main entrance to the new long-term care facility being built in Corner Brook will look like.
An artist’s rendition of what the main entrance to the new long-term care facility being built in Corner Brook will look like. - Submitted

Premier Dwight Ball had only just announced the successful proponent for the new long-term care project in Corner Brook when the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Newfoundland and Labrador started criticizing the move.

The Corner Brook Care Partnership will design, build, finance and maintain the new facility in a public private partnership (P3) arrangement with the province. The $120-million contract will cover a 30-year period.

CUPE has long spoken out against the P3 model and in a tweet said: “Call it what you like, @DwightBallMHA just privatized Newfoundland and Labrador’s health care.

Ball doesn’t see it that way.

“If CUPE or anyone else is complaining about 200 public sector jobs in this province right now, the very same people that are delivering the services to seniors and to some of the most vulnerable people in our province right now, that is not privatization.”

As he said in making the announcement at the Corner Brook Long-term Care Home in the city, Ball reiterated that nearly public sector workers will deliver the services in the government-owned and run facility.

“If they want to tell members of unions that this should not be done, we should not be providing employment for some of their members well then they can have that debate.”

The building of the long-term care is part of a campus-style build that will also see a new acute-care hospital built on the site on Corp. Pinksen Drive. It’s a project that has been 10 years in the making with many starts and stops along the way.

Ball said going the P3 route was the smarter way of doing things and will enable the province to finally deliver on the commitments it made all those years ago.

When asked how the province, with the current fiscal situation it is in, could afford to go ahead with the project, Ball responded: “How could we afford not to?”

He said the 30-year contract represents a savings of $12 million and comes with no risk to the taxpayers.

With the long-term care project contract completed the province will now move ahead with the same process to build the new hospital. A request for qualifications for the hospital will be announced before the end of the year.

Long-term care facts

 

Proponent

Corner Brook Care Partnership

Team lead — Plenary Group

Design lead — Montgomery Sisam Architects

Construction lead — Marco Services

Service provider — G.J. Cahill

 

Advance design and early work on the site to start this month

Construction to begin spring 2018

Completion set for November 2019

Occupancy set for March 2020

 

The Corner Brook Care Partnership will be responsible for the design, build, finance and maintenance of the facility

Plenary Group will bring equity to the project with debt being financed through TD Security

The province will be responsible for services such as nursing care, laundry, housekeeping and dietary and they will be provided through the public sector

Upwards of 200 public sector employees will be employed at the centre

 

The building

5-storeys

120 long-term care beds — all rooms with be private with their own washroom facilities

15 palliative care beds

10 rehabilitation beds

 

The need

Right now there are 77 people in the western region waiting for long-term care

45 of those are currently in hospital, utilizing acute-care beds

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