The new Stuart Lake Hospital is a step closer in the region as a design-build agreement has been signed with the project’s preferred proponent, Graham Design Builders LP, so construction can begin.
“The selection of the team that will build the new hospital means another important milestone has been reached for people in Fort St. James and surrounding communities,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Residents have been waiting for years to see their hospital replaced, and we will soon see shovels go in the ground for a new, bigger, state-of-the-art facility that will deliver public health-care services for decades to come.”
The facility will be three times larger than the current hospital. It will have 27 beds, including 18 long-term care beds. There will be an expanded emergency department with two treatment rooms, a trauma bay and ambulance bay. A laboratory and diagnostic imaging will also be part of the new facility.
The hospital will also have a primary care centre that will consolidate services currently being offered around Fort St. James. It will include physicians, visiting specialists, substance-use supports, home and community care, and public health.
Project planning included Stuart-Nechako Hospital District, the community of Fort St. James, and the Nak’azdli Whut’en, Yekooche First Nation, Binche Whut’en, Tl’azt’en Nation (Tache and Middle River) and Takla Lake First Nation.
Approximately 450 direct and 300 indirect jobs will be created during construction, which is expected to begin in May 2022 and conclude in 2024.
The new hospital will be built on the same site as the existing one. Once complete, the existing facility will be demolished to make way for parking.
The estimated project cost is approximately $158 million, shared between the Province through Northern Health, and Stuart-Nechako Regional Hospital District, which will contribute $20 million.
The current hospital opened in 1972 and is outdated in terms of space, functionality and technology. The hospital has 12 beds and offers emergency, acute and complex care, as well as residential care, laboratory and X-ray services, as well as mental-health and addictions counselling.
Colleen Nyce, board chair, Northern Health –
“The new hospital is a great investment in health care for a large region. Not only will the people of Fort St. James and Nak’azdli benefit from a modern facility with a network of services, but so will those whose homes are in Takla, Binche, Yekooche and Tl’azt’en as well. This much larger hospital means people can access more health services closer to home, which is good for communities in the North and good for families.”
Jerry Petersen, chair, Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District –
“The Stuart Lake Hospital is such an important project for the residents of Fort St. James, Electoral Area C (Fort St. James Rural), Binche Whut’en, Nak’azdli Whut’en, Takla Nation, Tl’azt’en Nation, and Yekooche First Nation. This investment means that residents can count on local access to high-quality primary care, emergency and diagnostic services well into the future, decreasing the need for medical travel and relieving the burden on neighbouring communities. We are thankful to the Province, Northern Health and SNRHD directors and staff for your dedication to complete this project.”