The province is committing $1.3 billion to redevelop the aging hospital in Burnaby.
On Tuesday, Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix were joined by representatives with the Fraser Health Authority and Burnaby Hospital Foundation as they made the billion-dollar announcement.
Horgan described the hospital upgrade as “long overdue,” adding that the 67-year-old facility has had no significant modernizations since the 1970s.
“It’s been 40 years since the last upgrade of this facility and it’s way too long,” the premier said.
“We can reduce wait times; we can make sure we have more MRIs, more surgeries and better urgent primary care.”
The investment means the facility will have two new patient-care towers with more wards and operating rooms, a new cancer treatment centre and a larger emergency department. More than 100 hospital beds will be added, making the total 397.
“It’s a great day for Burnaby,” said Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley. “We look forward to having a facility that’s a closer match to the quality of people and the quality of work that happens here every day.”
In 2012, a report called for significant changes to the aging hospital, citing issues with meeting demand, having enough resources and a rampant C. difficile problem.
Timeline for construction
Officials said some older infrastructure will be demolished to make way for new buildings. They said the facility will “essentially be a new hospital at an existing site.”
Shovels will hit the ground for the first patient-care tower in 2021.
The six-storey tower will be 11,858 square feet with 78 beds, an upgraded mental health and substance use inpatient unit and new maternity ward.
The tower is expected to be complete in 2023.
The second patient-care tower will be larger, featuring 160 new beds and a modern cancer treatment centre.
Construction is expected to begin in 2024 and be complete in three years’ time.
NDP originally promised $2B
It was an NDP election promise to invest more than $2 billion to redevelop the hospital in 2017.
Health Minister Adrian Dix reaffirmed that the current investment is still a significant one that will have a major benefit to the community and Metro Vancouver region.
“Because of the way we finance healthcare in the province and healthcare capital projects, this is almost certainly the largest healthcare capital contribution in B.C. history right here today. The idea that this is a small project or it’s not what was being delivered, this is an extraordinary thing,” he said.
The hospital has the second busiest emergency room within the Fraser Health Authority, officials said. Each year, it sees 200,000 patients, performs 10,000 surgeries and welcomes 1,500 newborns.