Preparation work starts at site of Niagara Health System's new health-care complex

    NIAGARA, ON, Nov. 23 /CNW/ - Construction of the Niagara Health System's
(NHS) new health-care complex is one step closer with the start of work to
prepare the west St. Catharines site earlier this month.
    "This marks an important milestone for the Niagara region," said Minister
of Public Infrastructure Renewal David Caplan. "This new hospital is part of
the government's five-year $30-billion plus infrastructure investment
representing the biggest investment in health care infrastructure in more than
a generation."
    "This is a clear sign of our government's commitment to upgrade and
modernize health care," said George Smitherman, Minister of Health and
Long-Term Care. "Once built, this new hospital will mean Niagara-area
residents will have better access to important emergency services."

    Work on the site includes:

    -   Planting of shrubs and trees around the perimeter of the Francis
        Creek Drainage Canal to separate the hospital from the railroad
        tracks, giving the trees a few years to mature and develop in
        anticipation of the building;
    -   Creation of an enhanced fish habitat and spawning ground in the
        Francis Creek Drainage Canal;
    -   Promotional fencing for the It's Our Time fundraising campaign to be
        located at the corner of Fourth Avenue and First Street;

    Additional preparatory work will include development of tender documents
for the First Street road improvements.
    This preparation work will satisfy the requirements of the City of
St. Catharines and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in advance of
the development of the site.
    "This hospital will provide a tremendous opportunity to improve health
care in the Niagara region," said Jim Bradley, MPP for St. Catharines. "Our
government is pleased to be bringing better healthcare to our community."
    "The Niagara Region deserves the very best health-care facilities we can
offer. It's exciting to be moving forward with the site preparation work for
this new hospital that will include the Walker Family Cancer Centre that will
provide cancer care services that are so desperately needed in this area,"
said Kim Craitor, MPP for Niagara Falls. "I know from first hand experience
that taking this important step will make life easier for the people of
Niagara so they don't have to travel to Toronto and Hamilton for necessary
medical treatment."
    "We were pleased to award the contract for this work to Merit Contractors
Niagara, the successful bidder, and are eager to get this work completed
before construction begins," says NHS Chief Planning and Development Officer
Gloria Kain.
    "Beginning preparation work on the site of the new health-care complex
signals that we are yet another step closer to beginning construction," said
NHS President and CEO Debbie Sevenpifer. "We are grateful for the commitment
shown to the new hospital by all of our civic partners throughout the region.
We will continue to work collaboratively with all of our partners on this
exciting project in order to build a better health-care system and a better
    Once completed, the facility will house new regional services, including
cardiac catheterization, radiation treatment for cancer patients and 53 new
longer-term mental health beds. The addition of these regional services will
ensure closer-to-home access to advanced-level care for the more than 434,000
residents across the Niagara region.
    The health-care complex will also house a 375-bed community hospital to
serve St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara-on-the-Lake and surrounding communities
with a full range of acute/critical care, surgical, emergency, longer-term
mental health and ambulatory services. The new 850,000 square-foot health-care
complex will be built on a 32-acre section of the 40-acre site in
St. Catharines and replace two aging, existing community hospitals.
    "To say that we are eagerly awaiting the substantial completion of the
hospital in 2011 is an understatement," said NHS Board of Trustees Chair
Betty Lou Souter. "When the project is completed, Niagara will be home to one
of the most up-to-date hospitals in the province, and we will finally have the
infrastructure to care for and treat the unique health needs of the Niagara
region and bring care closer to home for patients across the region."
    Groundbreaking for construction of the new health-care complex is
scheduled to occur in fall 2008.
    Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will
work with the Niagara Health System to build the new hospital, 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.
    This project is guided by principles outlined in the Province's Building
a Better Tomorrow framework, which ensures public ownership of core assets
such as hospitals, schools, and water and wastewater facilities.
    Visit for more information.

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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 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.
    The new health-care complex to be built at First Street and Fourth Avenue
in St. Catharines will include:

    -   A new Niagara Regional Cancer Centre - now known as the Walker Family
        Cancer Centre - which will 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 53 longer-term
        inpatient mental health beds, as well as 30 acute mental health beds
        and ambulatory care services for Niagara residents;
    -   A new Regional Cardiac Catheterization Centre to provide diagnostic
        investigation services allowing procedures to be undertaken to reduce
        hospitalizations due to heart disease by 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 permanent dialysis units in Welland and Niagara Falls;
    -   A 375-bed community-based hospital 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 850,000 square-foot facility will be built on a 32-acre section of
the 40-acre site.

For further information:

For further information: Amy Tang, Minister's Office, Public
Infrastructure and Renewal, (416) 325-4048; Paulette den Elzen, Infrastructure
Ontario, (416) 327-5764; Caroline Bourque-Wiley, Niagara Health System, (905)
378-4647 x 43113

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