Work to upgrade Cariboo Memorial Hospital should begin in 2020, Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital chair Bob Simpson said Friday. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

CMH upgrade should begin by 2020 hospital chair reports

Hospital district chair Bob Simpson updated the board Friday after attending meetings with Interior Health

It is anticipated shovels will be in the ground by 2020 for the Cariboo Memorial Hospital upgrade project, said Bob Simpson, chair of Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District.

Simpson was giving board members an update at their regular meeting in Williams Lake Friday based on meetings he attended a meeting with Interior Health for chairs in Kelowna on Wednesday, April 11.

“The issue they are quite concerned about is on all capital projects is the price creep, in particularly with the government’s move on the housing front because it’s becoming increasingly competitive to bid on larger contracts,” Simpson said. “They did give us a heads up that part of their concern is the pricing increasing when it goes back for the final treasury board decision this fall and into 2019.”

In February, Minister of Health Adrian Dix was in Williams Lake to announce the project was moving to the business plan stage to upgrade the 55-year-old hospital.

The site plan for the hospital was completed in 2011 and a concept plan was submitted in 2018.

Read More: Cariboo Memorial Hospital renovation $100 million-plus project

Simpson said the board should know in the fall of 2019 whatever the dollar figure for the project will be, noting IH said presently bidding on projects is taking longer than before because there is so much work going on in the province.

It would be at the earliest a six month bidding project to get it out but could take as long as 10 months which would take it into 2020, he added.

During the meeting the board unanimously approved funding in the amount of $480,000 for business plan development costs and that a bylaw be brought back to the board by staff because the amount represents more than the normal 40 per cent, but instead 48 per cent of the cost.

The board also approved a motion that the outgoing chief executive officer of IH Chris Mazurkewich be invited to meet with the board in May or June prior to his retirement.

Simpson told board members that during last week’s meeting Mazurkewich encouraged hospital districts to weigh in on the funding relationships that they have with the government.

“When projects in the Lower Mainland are getting more funding, that means there’s less capital funding available for projects elsewhere,” Simpson said. “I had a conversation with the health minster this week as well and I am going to reach out to the other chairs to ask if they want to get together and do something elaborately to try and get this message to government.”

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