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$100 million hospital redevelopment OK’d for Williams Lake

Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District chair Bob Simpson

A $100 million redevelopment of the Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake has been approved.

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the redevelopment Friday morning in the Cariboo city.

“Three months after receiving the revised concept plan, we have approved the project to move to the business plan,” said Dix, in a news release. “This is a critical step in the redevelopment of the hospital, as the business-plan stage is the final phase of planning before the project proceeds to construction.”

People of the Cariboo region have been planning the redevelopment of their hospital since the Cariboo Memorial Hospital master site plan was completed in 2011. In the spring of 2015, the original concept plan was submitted to the Ministry of Health. More than two years later, in October 2017, a revised concept plan was submitted.

The demands of a changing population have outgrown the existing hospital. The redevelopment of 55-year-old Cariboo Memorial Hospital will create more functional space for patients and health-care providers, meet the most recent technological standards, and increase capacity to serve more patients, according to the government release.

Working with local Indigenous communities and partners, the project will create a therapeutic and culturally appropriate environment that supports health and wellness, and helps the growing number of people living with chronic illness or complex health conditions experience a greater quality of life.

Specific details of the hospital’s redevelopment, including the scope of the project and budget, will not be formalized until the business plan has been approved.

Doug Cochrane, Interior Health board chair, said he is pleased to get the official go-ahead from the provincial government to move on to preparing the business plan.

“With the redevelopment of Cariboo Memorial Hospital, we will create an environment that allows physicians, nurses and other health-care professionals to work collaboratively to provide the best care for our patients,” said Cochrane. “We are committed to setting a new standard of excellence in how we deliver health services to people in an environment that fosters healing and healthy communities.”

The business plan will focus on costing the project, which is currently estimated at over $100 million, and will address how services will be expanded within a renewed facility that is expected to be approximately 40 per cent larger than the existing hospital. The business planning process is expected to take approximately 12 to 18 months to complete, and will be followed by procurement and construction.

“We are pleased to see this important project move forward and will continue to work with the Province and Interior Health to see it come to fruition,” said Bob Simpson, chair of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District. “The planned improvements to Cariboo Memorial Hospital are a major investment by both the Province and local taxpayers in the long-term sustainability and resiliency of our region.”

The hospital district has committed to funding 40 per cent of project costs. The remainder will be financed by the province, through Interior Health.

The concept plan identifies the urgent need for redesign and expansion of Cariboo Memorial Hospital to address the needs of the population and provide improvements to the inpatient unit, maternity unit, emergency services, pharmacy, University of British Columbia medical school space and outpatient services.

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