DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — Officials have approved plans for a new hospital in Dawson Creek, B.C.
“I am proud to announce that the government has approved the business plan, and it is now full speed ahead for one of the highest-priority health capital projects in the north,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health, in a statement. “It’s a big day for the people of Dawson Creek – one that is a long, long, long time coming.”
Dix added during the business planning process, the project team found a new hospital was needed rather than a redevelopment and expansion. The 19,400-square-metre project will be built near the Northern Lights College campus on a standalone site. It will have 70 beds, all single rooms with ensuite washrooms.
The facility’s emergency department will be double the size of the existing one and increase treatment units from 10 to 13. The region sees roughly 18,000 visits to the emergency room a year. The new facilities will increase capacity to 25,000 visits a year. Mental health service beds will also go up from 15 to 18. The new hospital design will also allocate room for a laboratory, maternity unit and diagnostic imaging.
The facility’s design will also accommodate a range of surgical services as well as chemotherapy, ambulatory care, radiology, clinical support and pharmacy services.
The province stated the project cost is approximately $377.86 million and will be paid for in partnership by the provincial government, through Northern Health, and the Peace River Regional Hospital District.
Construction is expected to create approximately 1,500 direct jobs and 900 indirect jobs. Officials have yet to determine what will be done with the old hospital site after the new one is built and in use.
Now that the business plan is complete and approved, the project will be begin procurement with construction expected to start late next year. The province anticipates the facility will be ready to accept patients in fall 2025.
Northern Health has been eager to renew the hospital since 2008 but a concept plan for a redeveloped hospital in September 2015 did not move forward. Northern Health provided an updated plan in March 2018, which was approved by government in May 2018.
“The replacement of Dawson Creek and District Hospital is a capital priority for Northern Health,” said Colleen Nyce, board chair of Northern Health. “Thanks to the collaboration with the Province of B.C., the Peace River Regional Hospital District and the City of Dawson Creek, a new hospital will soon take shape. This new facility will increase space and improve workflow for staff and physicians — and better serve the health-care needs of people in the South Peace.”