$2 million promised for design of new hospital
When the province rolled out its budget for 2014/15 last Thursday, people in Springdale and Green Bay were looking for some word on the promised new Green Bay Health Centre.
At pre-budget consultations earlier this year, the town council of Springdale made it known that their first priority was to see a new health facility in the town as soon as possible.
Central health web
Just before Finance Minister Charlene Johnson rose to give the Budget Speech in the House of Assembly last week, though, a call to Springdale Town Hall confirmed that nothing had been communicated to the town council at that point regarding an announcement.
Then, as Johnson went through the budget, a passing mention was heard about the new facility. Money was going to advance the design of the new hospital for Green Bay. A release later that day from the Department of Health and Community Services confirmed that the amount committed to the project was $2 million.
“In my view, it’s good news, because it’s a step in the right direction,” said Mayor Harvey Tizzard. “It’s a continuous thing, what we’ve done – we’ve acquired the land, we have the land cleared, and now the money to advance the design.”
Tizzard says while it would have been nice to get more, they’re happy with Thursday’s announcement.
“It would have been nice to have the money to build a building, but that’s not going to happen the way things are right now.
I guess you just be patient; hopefully we’ll see something else next year to finish this up.”
MHA Kevin Pollard says he’s also pleased with the province’s promise on the project.
“I’m certainly pleased that government is moving forward with a meaningful and significant investment into the project,” he said. “This is really a testament to the dedication of the Town of Springdale, and the whole Green Bay Region, who have been fighting for a new hospital for many years, and now are finally getting what they need.”
Echoing the mayor’s thoughts, Pollard agreed that patience usually is a requirement in major infrastructure projects.
“A project this size is going to take several years for completion. Even though we’d love to snap our fingers and have it done overnight, that isn’t going to happen. There’s a lot of work that has to go into it to ensure the facility will meet the needs of the people it serves.
With the current state of political affairs in the province, however, there’s no telling what political party will be forming the government and running the province in the coming years before the project gets completed.
Mayor Tizzard says, however, council isn’t too concerned about that.
“Not at this stage, we’re not concerned, because this process is started,” he said. “If the process wasn’t started then I’d have concerns, but there’s three or four million dollars gone into this now, already, from the purchase of the land, to the clearing of the lands, and now this new $2 million.”
Tizzard added that there have been no internal discussions amongst council or its counterparts as to any extras or add-ons they would like to see in the design of the new facility.
“That’s decisions to be made at Central Health. They know what needs to go there, and how things need to be done,” said Tizzard. “Right now we’re just concerned about getting a new facility, because it’s needed.”
The MHA agreed with the Mayor’s assertion.
“That cottage hospital was built in 1952. In my estimation, it’s served its purpose,” he said.
The new Green Bay Regional Health Centre in Springdale is one step closer to becoming a reality after an announcement in the budget speech on Thursday will see the design for the new facility move forward.
While details are sparse, a release from the department of Health and Community Services says that $2 million dollars will be invested "to advance the design of the new Green Bay Health Centre."
The money is among the more than $189 million the department is investing in infrastructure, new equipment and repairs and renovations, as announced in the budget.
The new hospital in Springdale has been an issue ongoing for a number of years. The land and site has been purchased and prepared, and at the pre-budget consultations back in February, the Town of Springdale once again made their case of the importance of the facility to the region.
At the time, CAO, Rick LeDrew was quoted that their hope was that the project would go to tender this year - however, that hasn't happened.
When contacted by The Nor'wester on Thursday regarding the announcement, Mayor Harvey Tizzard said he wanted to wait before making a comment, as the news was fresh to council, who didn't know the money was coming until Thursday's Budget Speech.
Keep following The Nor'wester for the more on this story.