CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The P.E.I. government has once again issued tenders for two new manors in Montague and Tyne Valley – health facilities that have been promised for years.
The tenders were posted Thursday for a new 48-bed Riverview Manor in Montague and a new 24-bed Tyne Valley long-term care facility.
This is the second time tenders have been issued for these projects.
Transportation Minister Paula Biggar says estimates that came in last year when the first tenders went out were far higher than government had planned to spend in its capital budget for the year.
“There’s a big inflation on the cost of construction these days,” she said.
“It’s just costing us more to do these projects.”
Government had budgeted $18.7 million for the two new manors, and the lowest tenders came in at $21.4 million.
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This caused a delay in construction, expected to begin last year after Premier Wade MacLauchlan announced the two manor projects just days before dropping the writ for the 2015 provincial election.
But this was not the first time these health-care facilities have been promised.
The Robert Ghiz government announced a new Riverview Manor for Montague to replace the 50-year old structure in 2009 as part of a five-year manor replacement program. A government news release dated Feb. 20, 2009, says planning for the Montague manor would begin in 2013-14.
Then in June 2013, government announced a new 24-bed manor for Tyne Valley to replace the current facility, a section of which is 60 years old.
On Thursday, Biggar initially stressed these projects were “first committed in 2015.”
But when pressed, she acknowledged both the Montague and Tyne Valley manors were indeed announced in 2009 and 2013 respectively under the Ghiz administration.
“These things (take) time to get into the budgets. There’s no two ways about it,” she said.
“We’re moving forward with this, and there’s no doubt about it that people have been waiting for a number of years. And now it’s time to finalize that and I’m happy about that and I’m happy that I’m the minister of the day that’s involved in it.”
In the fall session of the legislature, Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker questioned why these manors are being replaced with the same number of beds as the current facilities, in spite of statistics that clearly show an increase to P.E.I.’s aging population.
Biggar says the main reason for this is financial.
“It’s cost as well as meeting the needs, but we do have a lot of people in the private sector that are willing to work with government to provide those beds,” Biggar said.
“We are working with the private sector on providing more long-term care beds,” she added, noting those negotiations would happen under the health department.
Tenders for the Riverview and Tyne Valley manor projects are expected back by the end of March.
Construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months, with a targeted completion in the fall of 2018.