Full speed ahead

Harry Sullivan
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Province to cover $25-million hospital shortfall

Full speed ahead

TRURO - News that the provincial government will provide the additional $25 million needed to complete the new regional hospital was met with cheer yesterday by local officials.
"Very good news today. Really happy about that," said Peter MacKinnon, CEO of the Colchester East Hants Health Authority.
"We've been in discussions with the province now for some time about how we were going to continue to move forward, so we knew things were moving through the processes with government and knew that an announcement was coming. But we're very, very pleased at the outcome and how the government has stepped up to support our project."
MacKinnon's comments were echoed by Truro Mayor Bill Mills and Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor.
"Very pleased," Mills said, of his reaction, while Taylor also described the announcement as "very good."
"That's great news. Very good, very good," he said. "I think it's good they're able to resolve that."
Project managers learned last summer the new hospital was going to have budget difficulties when tenders for the mechanical and electrical systems came in much higher than had been projected.
In recent weeks, Health Minister Maureen MacDonald approached the authority about the possibility of going back to the community for more funding. But that option was dismissed after Taylor and Mills both said their municipalities would not be making further contributions.
Truro-Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann said she had also been working hard with the Health minister to ensure the project did not get bogged down.
And yesterday, she added her voice to those cheering the government's decision.
"This additional investment shows us that Minister MacDonald is dedicated to working toward the completion of this project," she said, adding that local residents have also done "a tremendous job" of fundraising for the facility....
"We have all pulled together to make this a reality."
The total budget of the replacement facility currently sits at just under $180 million.
With yesterday's announcement, the provincial government's total contribution now stands at $154 million, or 85 per cent of the total project costs.
Area residents and ratepayers have pledged the remaining $26 million toward the project.
When the project was announced in 2005, the original budget stood at $104 million.
MacKinnon said the additional funding means the tender process for the mechanical and electrical contracts will now proceed within the coming weeks.
"Very soon," he said.
The mechanical and electrical tenders represent about 45 per cent of the construction budget. The facility is currently weather-tight and about 28 per cent complete. Although it had been expected to open in the fall of 2011, that is now expected to occur in 2012.

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

Geographic location: Colchester East, Hants, Colchester County

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Recent comments

  • dave
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    i can be quite hard on our politicians - but i will give credit where credit is due. the health minister showed leadership in acting in a timely manner so this could go ahead. i hope that some are held accountable (real accountability) for this budgeting fraud, i only regret that we are on the hook - one way or another - for another 25 million.

  • JB
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    I think that its great that we are getting the funding no matter who is responsible for it! Lets just enjoy that we are having such great new developments in this town!

  • jason
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    Zann should get credit for this, just like Armstrong takes credit for the civic centre funding

  • Sam
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    To spite the issues driving this, it's refreshing to see the matter of gap funding settled so quickly. Hopefully this weill help minimize penalties but to delays and timeline extentions.

  • Dennis
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    What are you talking about Hospital and Morgan ?? I have seen Ms Zann at events all over town doing her job and hanging out with the REAL people - not the stuffed shirt quasi-elites who THINK they run this town! Get with the picture - she's the only bright light on the political scene. Thank God she's OURS!

  • Mitch
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    I have to agree with Hospital on this one. Recall an article in the TDN last week when the shortfall was first announced. Ms. Zann's stance was that she was optimistic and hoping for good news from the Health minister. In other words, it sounds like she simply sat back and let others do the work.

  • Jc
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Does the new hospital come with a few new doctors? That is what this area really needs! Why not put some of our tax $ towards recruiting doctors so the minimum wait time at outpatients isn't more than 4 hours...

  • SASmith
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    $180 Million? Really? You've got to be kidding!

  • Morgan
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Vinny/Greg: Are you kidding me! Giving Lenore credit for this would be like thanking the rooster for the sun coming up in the morning. The NDP in Halifax is trying to save her from herself. Not looking to be an easy task!

  • great news
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    This is great news for Truro and I agree with Ms.Zann that we should all be proud that we have pulled together to make this happen! As for Hospital 's comments about the MLA not being seen since the election... I have seen her at numerous events around town and am always impressed by her enthusiasm and energy!

  • Hospital
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Vinny Mac - do you really believe Lenore Zann had anything to do with securing this extra money??? Get real, she is just like the premier - no where to be seen since she has been elected. As a rookie MLS, you say she is off to a good start??? How the heck would anyone know, the only time we've heard of her since she's been elected is when she was answering quesitons on her own office scandal! Can't wait to her the scoop on that one ......

  • Vinny Mac
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Lenore, while some were worried about your office being closed you were down in the city getting us $25,000,000.Way to go girl, and if you need to shut her down for a few more days, that's alright by me. I just wanted to say thank you for a job well done. Your job is not an easy one, but as a rookie MLA you are off to a great start.

  • Hospital
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    How can you say Zann should take credit for this when her name wasn't even mentioned in the press release, news paper article etc. Talk about a slap in the face! It's her own riding and she wasn't even mentioned. She must be busy trying to find her new office assistant.