New Surrey hospital: Estimated budget up as province decides on proponent shortlist

It appears the budget has increased by about $60 million as the province moves forward in the creation of a new British Columbia hospital.

Health Minister Adrian Dix was in Surrey Monday to discuss what his ministry called the "next step" for a new hospital in the city.

His announcement centred around the selection of two proponents to lead the project design and construction: EllisDon Design Build Inc. and PCL Construction Ltd.

He said the project is still expected to follow the timeline laid out last year, with construction starting in 2023, and an opening date sometime in 2027.

Also announced Monday is the cost of the facility, now estimated at $1.72 billion. That's up from last year's estimate of $1.66 billion.

When asked about the cost, Dix said there was a small addition that had to do with the value of the land. He didn't get in to details, but said the "good news" was it's currently owned by the province, so the land transfer is from the provincial government to itself.

The new hospital and integrated cancer centre is funded by the provincial government.

It will have 168 beds, five operating rooms, four procedure rooms, an emergency department with 55 treatment spaces and room for a large medical imaging department, pharmacy and laboratory. The cancer centre will have 50 exam rooms, 54 chemotherapy treatment spaces and room for six linear accelerators for radiation therapy, the ministry said Monday.

Dix was asked about demand being faced at what is currently the only hospital in Surrey, the province's fastest-growing city.

"All of our hospitals in B.C., and you see this all around B.C., have been at the front lines of a pandemic for two-and-a-half years, and no place more so than Surrey Memorial Hospital… It's clear that there's significant demand," he said.

He noted other action the NDP government and health-care facilities in the province have taken to provide additional care in the Fraser Health area, including improvements to other local hospitals.

"If you were to take a constituency of Vancouver, say Vancouver-Quilchena, you would have six hospitals within a 15-minute drive. In Surrey we have one hospital."

Dix said there are nearby hospitals including Peace Arch and Langley Memorial, but it's clear there's a need for two hospitals within the city of Surrey. The city is gaining about 100,000 people each decade, he said.

About a year ago, officials said the planning process was underway for the second hospital in Surrey.

At that point, a development proposal had been submitted for what's being billed as a "state-of-the-art" project.

The provincial Ministry of Health said in 2020 that the centre will offer treatment, support, research and education, virtual health care and "innovative technologies."

The hospital will be built on a lot on 180 Street, across from Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Plans for a new hospital in Surrey have been underway for years. The project was confirmed in 2019, following the purchase of the site.

Construction started earlier this year at another hospital in the Fraser Health region, which spans from Burnaby to Boston Bar.

Dix was joined in May by outgoing Premier John Horgan to announce the start of work at the site of the Burnaby Hospital, a project expected to cost more than $1.3 billion.

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