People in the Cowichan Valley are closer to a modern hospital as significant milestones have been reached, including the land transfer and the issuing of a request for proposals (RFP).
“Now more than ever, we recognize the critical importance of our health-care system, and our commitment to replace Cowichan District Hospital acknowledges the priority we place on timely access to high quality health-care services close to home,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “These key milestones bring us closer to getting shovels in the ground to bring the very best health-care facility to the growing communities of the Cowichan Valley.”
Two qualified teams, Alliance Care Partners and EllisDon + Parkin, have been shortlisted to participate in the next stage of the competitive selection process to design and construct the hospital. An RFP has been issued to the shortlisted participants. This is Phase 1 of a two-phase RFP process, which is expected to culminate in a preferred proponent in early 2022.
On March 25, 2021, in a cultural ceremony led by Cowichan Tribes, the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District (CVRHD) transferred the land slated for the new hospital to Island Health. In keeping with the traditions of the Cowichan people, the ceremony was held to create a positive path forward and acknowledge their enduring connection to the land. As part of the land transfer, Island Health purchased three land parcels totalling 9.22 hectares (22.8 acres) on Bell McKinnon Road in North Cowichan from the CVRHD for about $3.4 million.
The new hospital is anticipated to be about 46,000 square metres (496,000 square feet), nearly three times larger than the current facility. The scope of the project includes 201 acute inpatient beds. This is up from 134 in the current facility.
The emergency department will triple in size and accommodate 42,000 visits a year. The number of treatment spaces will increase from 17 to 36, with two trauma bays, rapid access and discharge space, fast-track streaming space and a dedicated acute psychiatric space with two seclusion rooms.
There will be an increase of three operating rooms, for a total of seven, with one operating room dedicated to C-sections.
Medical imaging will include increased CT scanning capacity and built-in magnetic resonance imaging.
Mental health services will include a 17-bed inpatient psychiatry unit with access to secure outdoor space and a four-bed psychiatric intensive care unit.
A new birthing unit with capacity for 10 maternity beds and a nursery for families and new moms will be included. The new labour, delivery, recovery and postpartum maternity care model will provide mothers with a place to give birth and stay in the same room with their infants until they are discharged.
Culturally safe services and spaces will be incorporated into the new hospital to accommodate traditional healing practices, cultural ceremonies and room for loved ones to support patients during stays.
The hospital will be a training site for medical students and residents in the University of British Columbia Island Medical Program.
There will be 800 parking spots, about double the number of current spaces.
Area upgrades will include storm water management, access to bus routes, provision of bike lanes and paths to promote green transportation.
The project is the first major health capital project to be delivered under the Community Benefits Agreement, which increases training and employment opportunities on the construction site for apprentices, locals, Indigenous peoples and under-represented groups such as women and youth who want a lifelong career in skilled trades.
Construction is anticipated to begin in 2022, and the new hospital is expected to open for patients in 2026.
The total project budget is $887.4 million, shared between the Province through Island Health and Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District, with support from Cowichan District Hospital Foundation.
To watch a video about the land transfer ceremony, visit: http://www.islandhealth.ca/newcdh/news
Two backgrounders follow.