Construction officially begins on the Niagara Health System's new health-care complex

    ST. CATHARINES, ON, April 28 /CNW/ - Groundbreaking for the Niagara
Health System's new health-care complex and Walker Family Cancer Centre took
place today when Jim Bradley, MPP for St. Catharines, joined hospital
officials, community members, fundraising volunteers and health-care partners
at the site for the official ceremony.
    The ground was officially broken by It's Our Time fundraising campaign
patient heroes on four excavators driven by operators from Walker Industries,
Matt's Excavating, Rankin Construction and PCL Constructors.
    PCL, the constructor for the project, intends to maximize the use of
local sub-trades and has indicated that the majority of the on-site labour
will go to tradespersons in the Golden Horseshoe Area.
    PCL will be calling for tenders from pre-qualified sub contractors for
the project. The majority of tendering activity will take place in early 2010.
Firm commitments for portions of the work have already been made during the
proposal stage of the project to subcontractors who participated in developing
the lump sum construction cost.
    Construction of the new facility will be completed by the end of 2012,
which means the new health-care complex will open its doors to patients in
    To be located at First Street and Fourth Avenue in St. Catharines, the
new health-care complex project will provide a sizeable boost to the regional
and Ontario economies during construction by directly and indirectly
supporting and creating approximately 5,400 jobs, many of which will be in the
Niagara region. At the peak of construction activity, about 1,000 workers are
expected on the site daily. Approximately 200 new health-care jobs will be
created once the facility opens to support the new regional services in
cancer, cardiac and mental health disease.
    The new health-care complex will be approximately 970,000 square feet and
will be built on a 32-acre section of the 40-acre site in St. Catharines. It
will be environmentally friendly and has been designed to achieve Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Environmental
features include energy efficient lighting, cooling and heating, which will
help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    The 375-bed replacement facility for the aging St. Catharines General and
Ontario Street sites of the NHS will offer 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 facility will feature 80 per cent single patient rooms, the most
available in a community hospital in Ontario.
    Plenary Health Niagara's team includes Plenary Group, Borealis
Infrastructure, PCL Constructors Canada Inc., Bregman + Hamann Architects,
Silver Thomas Hanley Architects, and Johnson Controls. Long-term debt
financing is provided through the private placement market and arranged by TD
Securities Inc., RBC Capital Markets and BMO Capital Markets. The lead long
term lenders were Sun Life Financial and The Great-West Life Assurance Company
and others that included Industrial Alliance and Bimcor. Société Générale, TD
Bank and Bank of Montreal provided construction financing for the project.
    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
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    George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and
    "Reaching this milestone has been the result of a tremendous amount of
hard work and dedication from everyone at the Niagara Health System and in the
local communities. This new health-care complex shows our government's
commitment to delivering a modern healthcare facility that this community
needs and deserves."

    Debbie Sevenpifer, President and CEO, Niagara Health System
    "We had a dream, a vision that would see a new health-care facility to
replace two very outdated facilities in St Catharines and bring new, regional
health-care services closer to home in Niagara, to benefit all Niagarans. Some
believed this day would never come, but it has and it is very real. To
everyone who has supported the project along the journey, a very sincere and
heartfelt thank you on behalf of the patients and families we serve."

    David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
    "I'm delighted to participate in this tremendous milestone with the
Niagara Health System and its partners. This new health-care complex is an
essential part of our government's commitment to renew hospitals. It will
provide a range of state-of-the art medical services and further our strategy
to lower wait times and improve access to care for the people in Niagara

    Jim Bradley, Member of Provincial Parliament, St. Catharines
    "I am pleased to see construction underway on our new state-of-the-art
hospital. This project is generating thousands of jobs in our community and
demonstrates our government's commitment to provide resources and facilities
to serve the health care needs of Niagarans."

    Betty Lou Souter, Chair, Niagara Health System Board of Trustees
    "Together we share in a bright and promising new era for healthcare in
Niagara. On behalf of my friends and colleagues on the Niagara Health System
Board of Trustees, I want to thank everyone who believed in this project and
helped make it happen. This is our legacy - a legacy that will enable a
healthier and more prosperous community for our children, our grandchildren
and for generations to come."

    Mike Marasco, Plenary Health CEO
    "I am thrilled to be part of this historic day for the Niagara Region.
Our team looks forward to working with our partners at the Niagara Health
System over the next 34 years to build and maintain a state-of-the art
hospital and cancer centre that will be built not only for today, but for
generations to come."

    Terrence Sullivan, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario
    "The Walker Family Cancer Centre brings cancer care closer to home for
the patients in this region. By working hand-in-hand with cancer partners
across the region, this new Centre will have a significant impact on improving
access, reducing wait times for cancer diagnosis and treatment."

    Tom Closson, President and CEO, Ontario Hospital Association
    "The Ontario Hospital Association congratulates the Niagara Health System
and all project partners for making the construction of a state-of-the-art
health-care facility in St. Catharines -- one that will improve working
conditions, improve operating efficiency and, most importantly, improve
patient outcomes - a reality."

    Walter Sendzik, CEO, St. Catharines - Thorold Chamber of Commerce
    "The economic impact of the new state-of-the-art health-care complex
cannot be underestimated. This project will generate jobs - both short and
long term, and just as importantly, it positions our community as a place for
businesses to grow and invest. As a vital part of the Paths to Prosperity
Plan, the construction of this facility is key to our future prosperity as a

    Karin Sheldrick, General Manager, Niagara Construction Association
    "I'm pleased to acknowledge this significant achievement. Our member
companies and their local employees are proud to be involved in a project that
is so vital to the future of our community."

    Brian McMullan, Mayor of St. Catharines
    "While the staff, physicians and volunteers at the St. Catharines General
and Ontario Street sites of the Niagara Health System have certainly served
the City of St. Catharines with exemplary care, it's far beyond time to
replace these aging buildings with an updated facility and on behalf of the
City of St. Catharines I'm certainly looking forward to when we open the doors
in 2013."

    Gary Burroughs, Lord Mayor, Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake
    "On behalf of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake we are certainly thrilled
to receive the best quality in acute care services at the new facility, in
addition to our Primary Health Care clinic at the Niagara Health System's
Niagara-on-the-Lake Site. We're pleased to be a part of the advancement of
care here in Niagara and look forward to participating in the construction
milestones as they unfold over the next four years."

    Henry D'Angela, Mayor of Thorold
    "While a hospital is a place none of us wish to be, the inevitable
reality is that we all have had our lives shaped in some form or another by
these facilities, whether it be in times of birth, sickness or death. While we
will cherish these memories of years gone by, we look to the future and the
limitless possibilities that will be pioneered by the medical professionals at
our new health-care complex."

    Peter Partington, Regional Chair, Region of Niagara
    "For the first time in Niagara we will have access to new health-care
services right here in our own backyard, and the ability to visit our loved
ones in times of need without the hassle of traveling the QEW to Hamilton,
Toronto or beyond for services we deserve. While we are very excited about the
patient care benefits of the new facility, the fact that the project will be a
major catalyst for the Niagara economy and create thousands of jobs is truly
appreciated during these difficult economic times. This is a huge win for

    Paul Leon, Past Chair, Board of Trustees 2002 - 2006 Niagara Health
    "Today evidences in a most compelling and dramatic fashion the commitment
the NHS has in delivering the highest quality of patient care for our
community. Every one of our health-care campuses in Niagara will resonate with
and be re-energized by this new state-of-the-art facility. Niagarans you have
made this day a reality! As a long-standing, and one of the first advocates
for this project, I sincerely thank each and every one of you. This hospital
would not have been possible without your support."

    Gloria Kain, Chief Planning and Development Officer, Niagara Health
    "For years the number one question I've been asked in relation to this
project is when is it happening? I am so thrilled now to tell people that
we've started construction! It's happening! We are confident that we have
selected the best partner in Plenary Health Niagara to produce this project on
time and on budget, with the best possible leaders in health-care design. We
will work side by side with Plenary Health until we open the doors to patients
in early 2013 and for 30 years beyond as they maintain the facility to best
practice standards."

    Dr. Brian Findlay, Chief of Oncology, Niagara Health System
    "Ever since we established the cancer program in St. Catharines in 1985,
I've dreamed of having a regional cancer center in Niagara, where radiation
treatment could be given along with the chemotherapy, supportive care and
clinical trials programs we currently have. With the Walker Family Cancer
Centre, we will finally have such an important and needed comprehensive cancer
care program. Our patients will no longer have to suffer the added burden of
traveling daily to Hamilton to receive their radiation treatment."

    Dr. Joanna Hope, Interim Chief of Staff, Niagara Health System
    "This new facility is about investing in the future - a future that means
an incredible ability to attract a new generation of doctors, nurses and
health-care professionals - who are looking to graduate then locate and
practice in healthcare environments where they have the tools, technology,
facilities and colleagues to do the best that they can to help heal, cure and
support their patients and their patients families."

    Mena Difelice, Nurse, St. Catharines General Site, Niagara Health System
    "As a nurse providing care in our St. Catharines General Site I can
certainly attest to the fact our facilities are of an older generation in St.
Catharines. We cannot wait to experience the positive work environment to be
offered at the new health-care complex. We want to move in now!"

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                            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's new health care complex
    The state-of-the-art health care complex to be located at First Street and
Fourth Avenue in St. Catharines will replace the aging St. Catharines General
Site and Ontario Street Site and will provide new regional services never
before available in Niagara, including treatments for cancer, heart disease
and longer-term mental health disease.
    The new facility will include:

     -  The Walker Family Cancer Centre to provide close-to-home treatment
        for the more than 1,200 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;
     -  80 per cent single patient rooms, the most available in a community
        hospital in Ontario
     -  Environmentally friendly design features resulting in LEED(R)
        certification as part of the government's commitment to reduce energy
        use and greenhouse gas emissions;
     -  CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear) containment
        capability to deal with infectious outbreaks and disasters;
     -  80 per cent paperless system;
     -  More windows to enhance natural light in patients' rooms and public
        and staff areas;
     -  State-of-the-art operating suites designed to take advantage of
        sophisticated image-guided and laparoscopic surgery; and
     -  A patient focused site design with healing gardens, ponds and walking

    The community-based hospital of up to 375 beds will offer 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 Niagara Health System project will be delivered using an alternative
financing and procurement model. Plenary Health Niagara will receive annual
payments from Niagara Health System over a 30 year period. Payments cover
construction, building maintenance, lifecycle repair and renewal and project
financing. Lifecycle refers to ensuring that heating and cooling systems,
windows, floors and roofing structures, for example, are kept in excellent
working condition over the 30 year period. The payments are like a fixed-rate
mortgage with maintenance and repair expenses included and will total
approximately $1.42 billion after 30 years. In today's dollars this is
equivalent to approximately $759 million.
    When the project is completed, Niagara will be home to one of the most
up-to-date health care facilities in the province, with infrastructure to care
for and treat the unique health needs of the Niagara region; ensuring care is
provided to Niagarans in Niagara.


    ACTIVITY                                                  START
    --------                                                  -----

    FINANCIAL CLOSE                                              March 2009
    SITE MOBILIZATION                                            April 2009
    SITE CLEARING                                                  May 2009
    DEMOLITION                                                     May 2009
    TOPSOIL REMOVAL                                                May 2009
    BULK EXCAVATION                                               June 2009
    CONCRETE STRUCTURE                                          August 2009
    BUILDING ENVELOPE                                              May 2010
    INTERIOR FINISHES                                             JUNE 2010
    SUBSTANTIAL COMPLETION                                    November 2012
    FACILITY ACCEPTS FIRST PATIENT                               Early 2013

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For further information:

For further information: Amy Tang, Minister's Office, Energy and
Infrastructure, (416) 327-6747; Jessica Hooker, Infrastructure Ontario, (416)
327-5325; Caroline Bourque-Wiley, Niagara Health System, (905) 378-4647 x
43113; Mike Marasco, Plenary Health, (604) 897-6933

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