Process which led to hospital overruns being reviewed

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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TRURO - The process that led to massive budget overruns with the new regional hospital is going to be investigated, Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said yesterday.
The minister released the information along with news that the province will be providing the additional $25 million required to finish the project, which now stands at an estimated $180 million.
"The province already invested more than $125 million in this project," she said, adding, however, that the community "needs" the hospital and the project must be completed.
"At the same time, I am very concerned about how project costs have escalated," she said. "Our government is committed to living within our means. We will review the process that led to these cost overruns so future projects are delivered within budget."
And local officials agreed that a review should be undertaken.
"I would welcome that," Truro Mayor Bill Mills said. "I think that is a good point to start from. You certainly can't keep doing that sort of thing every time you do new construction on a building," he said, of the budget overruns with the hospital project.
"I think they're being prudent in that and so that's a relief."
However, Mills said he also agrees with statements conveyed to him from citizens who feel the hospital project may have been more architecturally driven than it should have been.
"Is it a showpiece or a hospital?" he asked.
"Those are the types of questions I think you have to ask right from the get-go."
If you have a hospital that offers the best care, he said, "I don't think people care what it looks like as long as they get their relatives and loved ones looked after."
Health authority CEO Peter MacKinnon said he believes it is "important" to do a review of the process but he disagreed the facility has been over designed.
"I wouldn't agree with that statement at all," he said, of Mills's comments. "If you look at where we've run into the issues with the costing it's on the mechanical, electrical, all the systems that support the building from the inside out, which are non-architectural items, as a matter of fact.
"I think that we've had significant oversight and controls in place for the project and I'm very confident in the processes we've had in place. But obviously we didn't achieve the results we wanted on the mechanical and electrical tenders so I think it is valuable to review what happened and move forward."
Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor said he too welcomes the review but he said he has no problems with the building's design.
"I've heard that," he said, of the design comments. "It's been mentioned that you could make a box, you know, and that would work as long as you have everything inside."
But Taylor said he likes the design of the building and he believes it is important to have a proper blend of aesthetics and
"You have to be reasonable and hopefully they were. I think it's nice to have a real nice looking facility ... for a place to go, the people that work there and so on. You don't do it at all expense but you want to make it as nice a looking place as you can.
"And from what I've seen, it's a very practical building so I don't have a problem with it really."

Geographic location: Colchester County

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Recent comments

  • John
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    I hope some independent people will be added. Investigating yourself is a joke. Perhaps a couple members of the press could be included to get the real story out.

  • Sam
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    First off - it was budgeted at $104 million as designed and approved that way. Whether or not it is overdesigned is not relevant as that arguement was already made in the past and lost when the project was approved as is. It's not relevant to the issue at hand - massive cost over runs.

    My question is exactly who - or what group - is going to peform this investigation ? Hopefully, it is an unbiased and independent third party who can look at what's happened (or not happened as the case may be) objectively.

    If it's not an independent investigation it's no different than if a Police force was to investigate itself. We don't stand for that so we shouldn't stand for anything less than a totally independent forensic investigation of the planning and estimating of this project.

    I for one am anxious to hear what drove this project to come in (latest estimate only) at over 70% in excess of the initial estimate. Should be interesting to say the least.