The Government of British Columbia announced that a preferred proponent has been selected and the contract signed, with construction starting in July for the new Dawson Creek and District Hospital.

In co-ordination with Northern Health and Infrastructure BC, Graham Design Builders LP has been named the preferred proponent on the project. Graham Design Builders LP will be responsible for completing the design and building the new hospital.

“Our government has reached an important milestone with the Dawson Creek and District Hospital with the selection of the preferred proponent and the signing of the Design Build Agreement,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “People in the community and the region should expect to see work at the site in the weeks and months ahead as construction begins on the new and expanded hospital in Dawson Creek, and this is fantastic news.”

Construction is expected to begin in July 2023, with substantial completion in fall 2026. The new hospital is expected to be ready for patients in 2027.

“We are taking action to improve access to health care for every person in B.C., no matter where they live,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Health. “This new hospital means that when people in Dawson Creek and surrounding communities need care they can access quality services without travelling long distances.”

The new building will be approximately 24,500 square metres (263,000 square feet) and have 70 beds, an increase of 24. The emergency department is also doubling in size. Treatment spaces are increasing from 10 to 15. The facility will continue to provide a range of surgical services, as well as chemotherapy, ambulatory care, radiology, clinical support and pharmacy services.

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“This is a significant project award for Graham and adds yet another significant project to our growing healthcare portfolio. We’re proud to be a part of building this great facility that will provide high-quality healthcare services to the people of Dawson Creek and the surrounding communities”, said Graham’s Richard Ellis-Smith, EVP, Buildings Canada.

(Northern Health)

There will also be space for a laboratory, diagnostic imaging, as well as physical rehabilitation. New parents and families will be supported by a perinatal unit, including labour, delivery, recovery and post-partum rooms, and a nursery. Mental-health service delivery will be brought up to modern standards with a new inpatient suite and an increase of beds from 15 to 18.

“This announcement is wonderful news and an important investment for Dawson Creek and the network of communities served by the Dawson Creek and District Hospital,” said Colleen Nyce, chair of Northern Health’s board of directors. “This new facility will strengthen and improve health-care services for residents in the region, as well as the physicians and staff who provide care in this hospital.”

The hospital will be built in Treaty 8 territory, the ancestral home of the Beaver, Cree, Saulteau, Sicannie (Sikanni), and Slavey. The hospital serves the communities of Blueberry River First Nation, Doig River First Nation, Fort Nelson First Nation, Halfway River First Nation, communities of Kelly Lake, Prophet River First Nation, Saulteau First Nations, and West Moberly First Nations; as well as Métis, Inuit, and urban Indigenous populations within the Peace region of Treaty 8 territory.

Local First Nations are being consulted throughout the project to ensure that the new facility is culturally safe, welcoming, respectful and relevant. The new facility will include a spiritual room for use by people of all cultures and faiths. There is also work being done to further the inclusion of Indigenous people within the facility and project, pending input and feedback from the committees and working groups.

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The project cost is approximately $590 million, which will be shared between the Province through Northern Health, and the Peace River Regional Hospital District. The district will contribute a maximum of $177 million.

“This announcement is exciting news. The new hospital will provide a modern care facility for the residents of the Peace region for years to come,” said Leonard Hiebert, chair, Peace River Regional Hospital District. “The Peace River Regional Hospital District is a proud supporter of this new facility and we look forward to the start of construction on this very important project.”

The existing hospital will remain operational during construction. Future use of the current site will be determined after the new hospital is in operation.

Featured image: (Infrastructure BC)

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