New hospital plans mired in bureacratic reviews

Nunavut government officials are going over plans for new Nunavut health facilitie with a fine-toothed comb to find out if thsoe plans are stiill relevant and affordable.


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — Nunavut residents can expect to wait at least another years and perhaps longer, for construction to start on three proposed new health facilities.

Earlier this year, the Baffin Regional Health and Social Services Board said it hoped to release designs for a new Iqaluit hospital in June.

It tentatively scheduled construction to be complete by January of 2002. That hospital, along with new facilities in Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay, are expected to be financed through public-private partnerships, or “P3” agreements.

But that schedule is now in question, because the Nunavut government has decided to review each of its pending P3 projects, before it takes any further action, a Nunavut government official said.

“What cabinet asked to do, is to have the departments make a recommendation on what we should do with those,” said Glenn Sargant, director of corporate services in the Finance and Administration Department.

The Nunavut government is about to hire a consultant to review the plans of the projects to see if each make sense.

The three proposed health facilities and some student housing in Cambridge Bay will all be reviewed.

In the case of the hospital proposed for Iqaluit, the consultant will review its functional plans and see if changes need to be made, Sargant said.

Functional plans outline each of the necessary components of a new hospital. Architectural designs for a building are created after the functional plan is complete.

The proposed new hospital for Iqaluit has had complete functional plans for some time

Once the consultant’s work is done, the Department of Heath and the Education Department are expected to make a recommendation to the Nunavut government to go ahead with the projects as is, make changes to the design, or not proceed, Sargant said.

“It’s to flush out issues. Is the functional plan still relevant? Is the functional plan a good size?” Sargant said.

Sargant expects the consultant to complete their work in four to five weeks. The affected departments will then come up with their recommendations to cabinet.

A review of the projects makes sense, Sargant said because much of the preliminary work was done by the Government of the Northwest Territories. The Nunavut government wants to examine the projects itself before it signs on.

For the Iqaluit project, the department may ask for changes to the functional plan so that the existing Iqaluit hospital can also be used, said Ken MacRury, deputy minister in the Department of Health and Social Services.

For example, he said a new hospital may not need its own laundry or cafeteria if the old building is used.

“Now we have to go back and look at the functional design. I guess we’ll have to do some amendments to what’s currently in place and only after that can we move to the design stage,” MacRury said.

Should the government decide to alter the preliminary plans for the projects, Sargant said the money that went into those designs will not be wasted.

“I do feel good about the work that’s been done, because we’re going to build on it,” he said.

The Baffin Regional Health and Social Services Board is now waiting to hear when the review will get underway, said Judy Watts, acting chief executive officer for the board. At that time the board will work with the department.

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