Issues with tenders coming in way higher than expected have led to major delays and budget overruns on the new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital. Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says the facility is now $90 million over its original budget of $647.5 million, and its completion date has been pushed back from April 2017 to sometime in 2019.
“The main factor is that the former government announced a project and put shovels in the ground without properly planning or realistic timelines. Now we have a project that will be completed later than expected, that has significant cost overruns. Major contract tenders that were originally tendered in 2014 came in significantly higher than originally budgeted.”
Those include tenders for electrical that came in 73 per cent higher than expected, and drywall 233 per cent more. Work has continued, and the exterior shell is 70 per cent complete.
In order to cut costs, certain parts of the hospital are being put on hold, like two of the 10 operating rooms, and mental health services will be kept at the QEII Hospital. Renovations to that facility have also been suspended until the new one is finished.
“My focus right now is really making sure we get the new hospital up and operational and to make that happen within any kind of reasonable budget,” says Hoffman, “Once that’s done we’ll assess the needs in the region and see if it’s going to be a higher priority for us to move the mental health with the new facility or modernizing the existing facility.”
The province will be sending out new tenders with reduced interior work this month, and if they come back in budget, work is expected to start in early 2016.