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I want to utilize this week’s column to give you an update on the Fort St. John Hospital and Residential Care project, a very exciting project for me. I am the liaison Chair for the new Fort St. John Hospital.  I have had the opportunity to watch this project in the inception stage, the current stage and will see it through to the finish.

Every month the committee meets, it is so exciting to see the developments and how much more is accomplished each and every month. The project management team has given presentations to the community on several different occasions. But, it never hurts to follow up on the great work that this team has been doing.

I am starting to get questions at the office about when will the hospital be completed? When will the transfer of patients occur? What is happening to the old hospital and the old care home? I will try to answer some of these questions.  First, I want to say that the new hospital and residential care facility is going to be something that we will be proud of in the Peace Country for many years to come.

This project has contributed substantially to our local economy with approximately 300 employees on site for most of the last year. One of the things that our liaison committee was adamant about was utilizing as much local labour
as possible. We have kept track of the locals that have been utilized for this project. We have seen anywhere from 35 employees, in the early stages of the project, up to 135 employees in some of the mid stages and currently about 75 employees that are local. Approximately 10% of this number has been local first nations. I want to thank Acciona/ Stuart Olson group for working so hard to try to utilize as much local employment as possible.

The hospital and residential care facility will be finished this summer. The plan is to move people and equipment into the care facility as quickly as possible during the warmer months. Exact dates and times are unknown at this juncture.

Northern Health and the North Peace Seniors Society are in the final stages of their agreement to turn the care home over to the Society after the residents have been transferred to the new residential care facility.

Northern Health has also been working to find solutions and possible tenants for the old hospital once that move has been completed. At this point they have decided that they will not be using the old building for government operations.  They will be engaging with the City of Fort St John to figure out what might be the best suited plan for the future of the old hospital moving forward.

Again, it has been very exciting to have been involved in this process, and I want to thank Richard Neufeld for all of his hard work in securing this facility for our region.

Pat Pimm, MLA Peace River North

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