Work on facility continues despite skyrocketing costs

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO - Work is continuing at the new hospital despite a funding shortfall and delays in some aspects of the project, an official says.
"We're continuing on with the exterior work," said Peter MacKinnon, CEO of the Colchester East Hants Health Authority.
The building is now watertight, metal siding is being installed and some interior construction is taking place including the pouring of floor slabs and other masonry work.
Current construction delays involve the mechanical (plumbing, heating, ventilation, etc.) and electrical (power supply and distribution) aspects of the project.
Tenders for those components - which represent 45 per cent of the construction portion of the hospital budget - were put out last summer. But because of the scope and complexities of the work, there are a limited number of companies eligible to bid and when the bids came back, they were far higher than the project's budget allowed.
That has resulted in a funding shortfall of about $25 million on the project, which had been budgeted at $155 million. The new cost is now set at just under $180 million.
"It is a big, big project in terms of the scope of this work," MacKinnon said, of the mechanical and electrical components, which were designed to provide "new and leading edge building standards" intended to serve well into the future.
"I think all of those things came into play as part of what we are experiencing."
Just where the additional money is to come from hasn't been determined although Health Minister Maureen MacDonald has met with health authority officials in an effort to try to obtain more funding from the communities the hospital will serve.
Concern has also been raised about financial penalties that could be imposed against the authority if other contract portions are delayed.
Such penalties conceivably could run into the hundreds or even millions of dollars. But MacKinnon said no penalty money has been paid to date and he believes it is far too early to speculate on what those figures could ultimately be.
"It's a number that really has yet to be finalized and determined," he said, adding that such information won't be available until the mechanical and electrical contracts are signed and the project is once more fully underway.
"So it's really variable depending on how and when the project gets back on stream and we move forward," he said.

Organizations: Colchester East Hants Health Authority

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Recent comments

  • Sambo
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Immediately halt the Civic Centre project and divert funds to the hospital.

    Surviving a heart attack or watching hockey in a brand new arena, that's your choice. The answer should be simple.

    Truro is a small town; it can only handle one huge project at a time. Worry about the Civic Centre only after the hospital is completed.

    This so-called 'recovery' is very fragile and we could go into a double dip Great Recession quite easily, and the second part may be much worse than the first. Spend your tax money very, very wisely, because tax revenues are in decline.

    Have you seen the Truro Mall lately? Looks quite depressionary to me.

    Proceed with caution.