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Planning for the new Lakes District Hospital continues

Local groups and Northern Health are persevering with the plans for a new Lakes District Hospital.
Planning for a replacement hospital in Burns Lake is well underway

Local groups and Northern Health are persevering with the plans for a new Lakes District Hospital.

Planning continued with a meeting of the Lakes District Hospital Replacement Project Liaison committee last week.

The liaison committee consists of representatives from the Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District, local First Nations and Northern Health.

The cost of the new Lakes District Hospital is currently estimated at $50 million dollars. Part of the government requirements for funding approval require the hospital district to come up with a 40 per cent share of the project's total costs.

Currently the Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District have a total of $4 million held in a capital reserve towards the replacement project but local groups have been lobbying the government to reduce the 40 per cent requirement.

Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad has also promised to discuss the matter with the Minister of Finance.

So far the planning process has been 100 per cent funded by the Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District in preparation for project approval.

“This project is an important investment for future generations in Burns Lake and the surrounding communities in the delivery of quality and sustainable health care services,” said Michael McMillan, Northern Interior chief operating officer for Northern Health. “We are committed to providing a strong sustainable system of health care facilities across the region,” he added.

According to Northern Heath the proposed hospital in Burns Lake will also provide new and expanded patient care services for the region and is set to include inpatient beds with single and double occupancy, a complex procedure space which will allow for testing and screening for cancer, a modern emergency room and remote cardiac monitoring systems.

The proposed new facility will also include accommodation for teaching and training as well as space for primary care, however Northern Health are still saying no to the inclusion of an operating room.

“The development of a new hospital is a crucial step forward to improving the local economy through the creation of much needed construction jobs,” said mayor Bernice Magee.

“The legacy of this project will be a facility that we can all be proud of and one that will assist with recruitment and retention of health professionals,” she added.

The project planning team will continue to develop the functional plan for the facility and the submission to the Ministry of Health for eventual project approval.

The committee’s next meeting is set for May.