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The more than $5-million early construction and preparation tender in conjunction with the expansion project at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital has been awarded to Northern Contracting Ltd., a locally owned and operated construction company in Sydney Mines.
The tender includes groundwork and site preparation for the new cancer centre, energy centre and clinical services building at the Sydney site.
The clinical services building will house a new emergency department, critical care department, 72 in-patient beds and surgical suites.
In a news release issued Monday, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Lloyd Hines described the regional hospital expansion as a significant component of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s health-care redevelopment project.
"We are pleased to work with a qualified company that will help us achieve our goal of delivering this project on time and on budget," Hines said.
In conjunction with the work preparation, a new parking lot for staff, doctors and the public opened on Monday along Hospital Boulevard. The new lot replaces approximately 460 spaces at the back of the hospital.
Staff, doctors and the public are being asked to exercise caution and allow extra time when travelling to and from the hospital as the transition to the new parking lot is underway. Traffic delays are not expected.
The helipad and EHS Life Flight services at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital will temporarily relocate to the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport for six to 12 months.
Last week, Dr. Elwood MacMullin, senior medical director at the regional hospital, discussed the vital need for the new cancer centre. He explained that when the current cancer centre opened in 1998, it was designed to service 600 patients annually and that patient load has more than tripled over the years.
In the news release Monday, MacMullin offered appreciation to the staff, doctors and the public for their patience while construction of the parking lot was underway and as they transition to the new parking areas.
“The redevelopment project is very exciting for our community,” he said. “The new expansions at the site will improve health care locally and we look forward to working with Northern Contracting to move the project forward."
The Cape Breton Regional Hospital was built in 1995 and includes 162 acute care beds, 36 emergency beds, 23 intermediate and critical care beds, 40 maternal child beds, 52 mental health and addictions beds, and nine palliative care beds.
The $38.4-million Cape Breton Regional Municipality Health Care Redevelopment project is a partnership between Nova Scotia Health and the provincial government.
Although the overall project is estimated to be completed in five to seven years, the cancer centre is projected to be complete in three to four years.
The project also includes building a new school, modern health centre, long-term care home and new recreational facilities in New Waterford; building a new health centre, long-term care home and laundry centre on the Northside; and expanding the Glace Bay Hospital emergency department and surgical services.
Sharon-Montgomery-Dupe is a breaking news and enterprise reporter at the Cape Breton Post.