Island Health and BC Cancer have issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a construction manager for the new BC Cancer centre at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH).

“Our government is taking action to move this project forward expeditiously to the next stage after the approval of its business plan two months ago,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Once the construction manager is hired, pre-construction activities will begin, and the people of Nanaimo and surrounding areas will be one step closer to having enhanced, comprehensive cancer care and treatment that’s close to home.”

Submissions to the RFP are due July 15, 2024, and will be evaluated by Island Health and BC Cancer to determine the successful proponent. It’s expected the construction manager will be chosen by August 2024. Construction is expected to begin in summer 2025.

The project budget is approximately $289 million.

“It’s fantastic to see we are another step closer to having a BC Cancer centre in Nanaimo,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “We are getting closer to construction, and closer to patients getting care right in our community.”

The centre will be built next to the ambulatory care building. It will house a computed tomography (CT) simulator, a PET/CT diagnostic scanner and an oncology ambulatory care unit with 12 examination rooms, four consultation rooms, and space for medical physicists and radiation therapists. The centre will contain four linear accelerator vaults, which are heavy concrete structures that contain radiation equipment used in the treatment of cancer patients.

“For such a complex and important project, it is vital we work with a construction firm with the experience and talent to deliver,” said Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health. “Moving to RFP for a construction manager marks an important milestone in our commitment to improving health outcomes for people affected by cancer on central and northern Vancouver Island.”

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Upgrades to NRGH have also been approved, such as a new single-storey addition to the ambulatory care building that will be home to a new community oncology network clinic and expanded pharmacy.

“We are thrilled to be one step closer to construction, bringing cancer care closer to home for residents of central and north Island,” said Tracy Irwin, chief operating officer, BC Cancer. “The new BC Cancer centre at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital will offer high-quality, life-saving treatment, ensuring accessible cancer care for future generations.”

The upgraded clinic will have 16 treatment bays, private consultation rooms, a medication room and support space. Cancer care delivered through the clinic will include oral and intravenous cancer treatment, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and hormonal therapy. The clinic also provides initial consultation and treatment planning with a medical oncologist, supportive care, follow-up care and patient education.

The pharmacy will be updated to current standards and will have more space than the current one. Construction work also includes 164 parking spaces featuring a two-storey parkade next to the cancer centre, as well as parking stalls in the north lot.

Featured image: Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (Artez Photography)

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