Preferred proponent selected for Niagara Health System's new health care complex



    NIAGARA, ON, Aug. 8 /CNW/ - The Niagara Health System (NHS) and
Infrastructure Ontario will begin negotiations shortly with Plenary Health,
the team selected as the preferred proponent to design, build, finance and
maintain a new health care complex in St. Catharines.
    The 375-bed acute care community hospital will be located at First Street
and Fourth Avenue in west St. Catharines. It will replace the aging St.
Catharines General and Ontario Street Sites. Serving St. Catharines, Thorold,
Niagara-on-the-Lake and surrounding communities, the new facilities will
provide a full-range of acute/critical care, surgical, emergency, longer-term
mental health and ambulatory services.
    The new, state-of-the-art health care complex will also accommodate new
regional services that have never been available in Niagara, including
facilities for comprehensive cancer care at the Walker Family Cancer Centre
along with facilities to support cardiac catheterization and longer-term
mental health beds. The new site will also act as the centre of regional
dialysis services, supported by the permanent dialysis unit recently
constructed in Welland.
    "As one of the largest infrastructure projects currently being planned in
Ontario, this new hospital demonstrates our government's commitment to provide
resources and facilities to serve the health care needs of people across
Ontario," said George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and
Infrastructure. "This project is part of the government's five-year
$30-billion-plus infrastructure investment plan, which represents the biggest
investment in health care infrastructure in more than a generation."

    
    Plenary Health includes:

    -  Plenary Group
    -  PCL Constructors
    -  Bregman + Hamann Architects
    -  Silver Thomas International Architects
    -  Johnson Controls
    -  Deutsche Bank
    

    Following negotiations with Plenary Health, the project will reach
commercial close, which is expected within two months. This will signal that
relevant contracts have been signed.
    The next project milestone, financial close, should follow within 30 days
of commercial close. At this time, a financing rate will be set, the project's
cost is finalized and funds become available for the project.
    The final cost of the project will be shared with the public following
financial close. At this time, the hospital and Plenary Health will continue
to work together to finalize the design and ensure the necessary permits and
approvals are in place to commence construction. Site preparation and
groundbreaking will take place this fall, with full construction starting in
the spring of 2009.
    Said Jim Bradley, MPP for St. Catharines, "Along with the addition of
these new regional services, our vision of a new community hospital for the
residents of St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara-on-the-Lake and immediate area
is one step closer to becoming a reality."
    "We are poised to begin negotiations and look forward to future design
development with Plenary Health and re-engaging our hospital user groups and
our community in further consultation as we make this project a reality," said
Debbie Sevenpifer, NHS President and CEO.
    "As a specialist in health infrastructure development and management, we
look forward to bringing our expertise to Niagara to construct an efficient
hospital that will be built not only for today, but for generations to come,"
said Mike Marasco, Plenary Health CEO.
    "The new centre means hundreds of patients per year won't have to travel
from Niagara to Hamilton or Toronto for radiation treatment. Patients will
have access to high-quality cancer services much closer to home," said
Terrence Sullivan, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario.
    The St. Catharines facility is the first new hospital to be constructed
as a Design, Build, Finance and Maintain (DBFM) project in partnership with
Infrastructure Ontario under the provincial government's Alternative Financing
and Procurement (AFP) delivery model.
    This new financing model transfers responsibility to the winning bidder
for designing the facility, constructing the facility, arranging financing for
its construction and maintaining the building for a 30-year period.
Transferring most construction-related cost and schedule risks and entering
into maintenance arrangements with the winning project team ultimately
benefits the public by ensuring the new hospital is built on time, on budget
and well-maintained over the 30-year period.
    Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will
work with the Niagara Health System to build the new health care complex,
which will remain publicly owned, publicly controlled and publicly
accountable. Infrastructure Ontario is a Crown corporation dedicated to
managing some of the province's larger and more complex infrastructure renewal
projects - ensuring they are built on time and on budget.
    Visit www.infrastructureontario.ca or
www.niagarahealth.on.ca/buildingup/index.html for more information.

    
    Disponible en français


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Niagara Health System
    

    The Niagara Health System (NHS) consists of six hospital sites and an
ambulatory care centre serving 434,000 residents across the 12 municipalities
making up the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

    The Niagara Health System Project

    The Niagara Health System project will result in a new, state-of-the-art
health care complex that will bring new regional programs and services to
Niagara and replace two aging, existing community hospitals in St. Catharines
(St. Catharines General and Ontario Street Sites).
    The new health care complex to be built at First Street and Fourth Avenue
in St. Catharines will include:

    
    -  The Walker Family Cancer Centre to provide close-to-home treatment for
       the more than 1,000 cancer patients who currently travel to Hamilton
       or Toronto for life-saving radiation treatment;
    -  A new Regional Longer-Term Mental Health Centre with longer-term
       inpatient mental health beds, combined with acute inpatient mental
       health beds and ambulatory care services for Niagara residents;
    -  A new Regional Cardiac Catheterization Centre to provide diagnostic
       investigation services, reducing hospitalizations for heart disease,
       lowering wait times and improving access to treatment;
    -  Expanded regional dialysis services enabling the hospital to act as
       the hub of regional chronic kidney disease (CKD) services accompanied
       by a permanent dialysis unit in Welland; and
    -  A community-based hospital of up to 375 beds offering:
       -  Acute and critical inpatient services, surgical, emergency and
          ambulatory services available under one roof for the residents of
          St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara-on-the-Lake and the area.
    

    The new health care complex will be built on a 32-acre section of the
40-acre site in St. Catharines.
    When the project is completed, Niagara will be home to one of the most
up-to-date health care facilities in the province. It will establish
infrastructure to care for and treat the unique health needs of the Niagara
region, ensuring care is provided to Niagarans in Niagara.
    Groundbreaking for construction is scheduled for the end of this year.
    Visit www.infrastructureontario.ca or
www.niagarahealth.on.ca/buildingup/index.html for more information.

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    




For further information:

For further information: Laurel Ostfield, Minister's Office, Energy and
Infrastructure, (416) 327-4418; Jessica Hooker, Infrastructure Ontario, (416)
327-5325; Christine Clark, Niagara Health System, (905) 378-4647 x 43111


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