26 April 2012

Trouble near mill: the Corner Brook hospital #nlpoli

The 2012 provincial budget includes $1.4 billion in capital works but none of it is apparently connected to two hospitals..

How long should it take to start construction work on a new hospital? That’s a really good question. 

For the provincial Conservatives in Newfoundland and Labrador, six years is not enough.

They announced money for it in 2006.  They had a tractor start digging a hole in the ground for a new hospital in time for a 2007 by-election in Labrador.  By 2010, the whole thing was on hold with a budget that was well on its way to doubling the original estimate.

The new Corner Brook hospital is apparently caught in the same time vortex::

  • Promised in 2007.
  • Some work done in 2008.
  • Site selection September 2009.
  • Tender to extend water and sewer to the site, June 2010.

According to a September 2010 release, “[c]onstruction is anticipated to begin in August 2012 with occupancy expected in April 2017.”

Yeah, well, that was then.

According to finance minister Tom Marshall, there’s only $1.0 million in the 2012 budget for the new hospital. That was for “planning”. if that runs out, the public works guys can spend another $5 million for more “planning”.

If the public works minister “runs out of money,”  Marshall told the House of Assembly on Wednesday, “they can come back to me for more money for planning.”

As for construction, Marshall had no answer as to when that might happen.  Odds are good, the hospital won;t be starting in 2012 and it definitely won’t be opening in 2017.


- srbp -