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Premier Dwight Ball in good spirits with major hospital projects on track

Premier Dwight Ball provides an update on the new acute hospital during a press conference on the 10th floor of the Sir Richard Squires Building on Friday morning.
Premier Dwight Ball provides an update on the new acute hospital during a press conference on the 10th floor of the Sir Richard Squires Building on Friday morning. - Dave Kearsey

Premier Dwight Ball was in an upbeat mood Friday knowing his Liberal government is on track with its promise to have a new acute-care hospital built in Corner Brook over a four-year period with construction starting in 2019.

Ball, with MHAs Eddie Joyce, Gerry Byrne, Scott Reid and John Finn on hand, provided an update on health-care infrastructure on the west coast during a news conference Friday morning on the 10th floor of Sir Richard Squires Building in Corner Brook.

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Ball announced the provincial government has issued a Request for Qualifications to establish an industry short list to solicit proposals for the new 164-bed acute-care facility that will include the same services as the current Western Memorial Regional Hospital, but also a cancer-care program to offer radiation services that many people on the west coast have been fighting for in the last number of years.

Like the long-term facility already under construction, Ball said the new facility will be designed, built, financed and maintained by the private sector. More importantly, he wanted people to keep in mind that services such as patient care, housekeeping and food services would be provided by public-sector employees as it currently stands with the existing facility.

After government gets the Request for Qualifications out of the way, Ball said a Request for Proposals will be issued to qualifying firms and a beehive of activity will be expected when construction starts next year.

Ball said a comprehensive value-for-money assessment for the long-term care project has concluded that partnering with the private sector will result in savings of 10 per cent over the 30-year agreement — up from the originally estimated 8.9 per cent — for a total estimated savings of $14.6 million and the final value-for-money assessment is available for public viewing.

“What we’re getting is better value for the investment that we are making and that is proven with the financial close information that we will be releasing today,” he said.

The two projects combined, according to Ball, will create significant employment and almost a half-billion dollars in economic activity during the construction phase.

“It’s a significant economic benefit to the western region,” he said.

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