People in Corner Brook must be getting tired of waiting for their new hospital. There have been 19 announcements about it over the last seven years, and while the money appears to be flowing, shovels haven’t found dirt yet.
“Budget 2008 includes $79.1 million in new and redeveloped health infrastructure. High priority repairs and maintenance in existing health facilities will be addressed with a $33.5-million investment. These investments will bring the total investment in health infrastructure projects and repairs by this government to approximately $240 million. New infrastructure projects include: planning and site selection for a new hospital in Corner Brook …”
A year later, it was “As part of the provincial government’s infrastructure investment package announced in February, Budget 2009 includes investments in health-care facilities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador totalling $76 million. Infrastructure projects include … $4 million for programming and site selection for a new hospital in Corner Brook…”
By September, 2009, it was “Construction of a new state-of-the-art health care facility is one step closer to reality today as the Honourable Danny Williams, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and MHA for Humber West, announced the site for the new Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook.”
Then, “Budget 2010 provides a total of $208.9 million for health-care infrastructure, which includes investments in new construction, redevelopment of existing facilities, purchase of new medical equipment and repairs and maintenance. Investments in new construction and redevelopment total $125.1 million and include … $11.8 million for continued construction of a new hospital in Corner Brook…”
Then, “Health care infrastructure throughout Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be a priority for the provincial government with a total investment of $272.2 million in Budget 2011, which includes $200.6 million for new and continuing construction and redevelopment. … Continued infrastructure projects include … $18.5 million for the continued construction of a new hospital in Corner Brook;
But the news releases have gone on. Here are the ones from 2013 alone:
“March 7: Program Report for Corner Brook Hospital Received and Under Review,” which includes, “The master program report for the new Corner Brook hospital, which will support the finalization of the design for the new facility, was received yesterday from Stantec and is currently under review by the provincial government.”
“March 19: Media Advisory: Premier to Make Pre-Budget Announcement Regarding New Corner Brook Hospital.”
“March 20: Premier Announces $227 Million for New Hospital in Corner Brook.”
Then premier Kathy Dunderdale announced the government had spent $20 million already, and that the $227 million would be spent over “the next three years.” At that point, “The next phase of this project will finalize the design for the new hospital complex. … The project is focused on meeting the health-care needs in the region while balancing the need to construct in a sustainable, cost-effective manner.”
The newest spending? “Funding will be provided through Budget 2014 for continued infrastructure projects, which include: $15 million to continue design and program planning for the new Corner Brook hospital …” Some of that money will be used to determine what kinds of services will be needed at the new hospital.
“I know people are frustrated, they want it done quicker,” Premier Tom Marshall told CBC News Monday. “We have to do it right. You get one chance at this, and we have to ensure it’s done properly.”
Be that as it may, in 2007, Chief Justice Green was writing a report on the constituency allowance scandal, FPI’s assets were being sold and the provincial government was promising the first pavement for the Trans-Labrador highway.
Just saying: it’s been a while.