Council breathes life into plans for hospital expansion
Development permit finally approved after decades of talk
Plans to expand the Baffin Regional Hospital to include a new acute care wing were solidified this week when city council voted to award a development permit to contractor Qikiqtaaluk Corp.
Acting on behalf of the Government of Nunavut, QC proposes to construct a two-storey building and a one-storey link connecting the new building to the existing hospital. Plans also include a physical plant addition and sprinkler upgrade to the existing building.
The main floor of the new building will be level with the main floor of the old hospital, with a crawl space beneath. The building will have a larger second floor and a third floor fan room. The exterior will likely be a combination of vertical metal siding, vertical zinc siding, cement board and stucco finish to match the treatment and colour of the existing building.
The site of the new Qiqiktani General Hospital will be just west of the existing building, with new access from Apex Road and 50 parking spaces.
The site works for the development will include recontouring through blasting and digging, which will commence soon and continue throughout the rest of the summer. Construction of the building won’t begin until next year and is expected to be finished in 2006.
The proposal also includes a series of concrete retaining walls with metal railings to support the parking area.
“The proposal has received a very thorough review and the arrangement that was finally recommended by the planning committee and administration was to proceed in a two-staged process,” Mayor John Matthews said.
“We are working very, very well with the Government of Nunavut’s department of public works, and they’re trying to do everything they can to satisfy what we want. So the relationship is very good, and council is quite confident that this good working relationship will continue throughout the project.”
A traffic impact assessment compiled by UMA Engineering Ltd. determined that the existing hospital intersection would not be significantly affected by the addition of an expanded hospital facility. The report did, however, suggest that the intersection be revised to improve sight lines, and prepared for the potential future installation of signals.
“At some point we are going to have to do something because the traffic is building up there, but for the here and now we’ll probably follow the recommendation of the consultant not to do anything at this point,” Matthews said.
Three environmental site assessment reports have been prepared for the site, which found the lot to contain contaminated soils. It is currently being cleaned up.
The federal government gave money to the GNWT back in the early ’80s to build a new hospital but it ended up in general revenue and at the end of the day there was none left for the new building, Matthews explained.
“[Ed] Picco, minister of health for the GN, has done a wonderful job. He’s single-handedly managed the file and after many, many meetings was able to get the necessary money together,” Matthews remarked.
Picco tossed around the idea of naming the new hospital after her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II last October following her visit to Iqaluit.