I wanted to update you on my efforts to get the government to finally agree to start the renewal of our hospital.
For years our community, and myself as your MLA have called for renewal of St. Paul’s in the West End, and for years we’ve been met with promises to act, but then delay after delay with little action, and no timeline for when action will actually occur.
I had the opportunity to question the Health Minister on renewal of St. Paul’s Hospital yesterday afternoon in the House.
I must say, I was disappointed in his response. Despite giant signs put up shortly before the election announcing renewal of the Hospital, the Health Minister is still refusing to take the next step and allow St. Paul’s to develop their final plan known as a business case so they can get building. Providence Health Care has had a concept plan ready for years, and have been waiting for the government to provide the investment to re-develop.
Yet the Minister still claims more work must be done, before any work can actually be done.
Christy Clark claimed there was $500 million in the budget for St. Paul’s renewal last year, but this year there’s no sign of the money, and no commitment to move forward.
A government report from ten years ago told us that 2/3rds of the hospital are at extreme, or high risk of collapse should an earthquake occur.
Through a freedom of information request I did we also learned that the elevators fail an average of 40 times a month.
The government made a commitment to renew the hospital. I won’t let up until it happens.
Thank you for your support, and work to get the government to finally renew our hospital.
2013 Legislative Session: First Session, 40th Parliament
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
TUESDAY, JULY 23, 2013
Committee of Supply
ESTIMATES: MINISTRY OF HEALTH
The House in Committee of Supply (Section B); R. Chouhan in the chair.
The committee met at 2:38 p.m.
On Vote 28: ministry operations, $16,403,475,000 (continued).
The Chair: We resume the budget estimates of the Ministry of Health.
J. Darcy: Thank you to the minister. I'm sure that the member for Burnaby–Deer Lake will be returning to this issue. The member for Vancouver–West End has a question that he would like to ask regarding the redevelopment of St. Paul's Hospital.
S. Chandra Herbert: Well, my constituents have certainly watched the proposed redevelopment of St. Paul's for many years.
There was a Treasury Board submission at one point, back in the early part of, maybe, 2003-2004, to have it taken out of the neighbourhood. Thankfully, community opposition to losing our hospital was heard by the government, and in 2010 a commitment was made to keep St. Paul's in the West End after repeated questioning from a few members.
Now, in 2011 a concept plan had been prepared. In 2012 the government announced the creation of a concept plan, which really was a revision of a concept plan which had been existing, and now, with a commitment that that would prepared.
In 2012 the government announced the creation of a concept plan, which really was a revision of a concept plan which had been existing, and now with a commitment that that would go to Treasury Board this summer for approval of a business case this fall.
My understanding is that a meeting which had been scheduled for July was cancelled for the presentation of the concept plan. I'm just curious when that concept plan will be going to Treasury Board and when a business case will be approved for the redevelopment of St. Paul's Hospital.
Hon. T. Lake: St. Paul's is indeed a critical institution for the entire province. In fact, both of my parents have had heart surgery there, so I owe them a great debt of gratitude.
The member is not correct in saying that the business plan was to come to Treasury Board or to the ministry this summer. In fact, the ministry is still working with Providence and St. Paul's and Vancouver Coastal to refine the concept plan in terms of scope, capital costs and phasing.
The next step will be for St. Paul's to submit a refined concept plan for government to review.
Then after the concept plan approval, they'll produce a detailed business case to procure and implement each of the phases.
So we do not expect that to happen, and the business plan itself likely not to come, until early 2014.
S. Chandra Herbert: There is a bit of a gap in this House, so maybe the minister misheard me. I didn't say the business case was complete. I said the concept plan was complete. So my question was…. That concept plan was supposed to be in the plans going to Treasury Board this summer for approval. Potentially, it's early this fall for approval. Then there could be one year of work done on a business case for approval in 2014.
I'm just curious if Treasury Board, and when Treasury Board, will be meeting to approve the concept plan, because my understanding is that the concept plan was completed. They went through and did some more work at the minister's and the Premier's request. That work has now been completed.
So I'm just curious when we can actually get to the business case. Many hospitals in British Columbia have not had to go through the concept plan phase. They've just gone straight to business case. But for some reason, St. Paul's has had to do this two-step process of concept plan, then business case. I just would like to know when the business case phase will start.
Hon. T. Lake: This is a complex site, obviously. It's over 100 years old, in the middle of a very dense area of the city of Vancouver, and is probably a little — well, a lot — more complicated a redevelopment than other sites would prove to be.
So the concept plan came forward. But working with the ministry, it was understood that further refinements to the concept plan were needed before progressing through the approval process and through to Treasury Board. So I don't have a date for when that may happen. St. Paul's and Vancouver Coastal are still working on that concept plan. We will continue to work with them.
I have heard of some very innovative suggestions on how that concept plan may develop in terms of, you know, utilizing that space for different purposes, if you like — some of which could, perhaps, help fund the redevelopment.
This is, again, why this is a complex project. It is high-value land, and the possibilities for redevelopment are probably a little different than would be in other areas. So we'll continue to work with Vancouver Coastal and St. Paul's on the concept plan, but I beg the member's indulgence that I can't give him a date when that would come forward.