The Stuart Lake Hospital replacement project in Fort St. James has received the official green light, according to an Oct. 9 press release from the Ministry of Health.
Government has now approved the concept plan.
Discussions regarding the replacement of the hospital have been ongoing since 2008. In September 2015, Northern Health submitted a concept plan to the Ministry of Health. Northern Health submitted a revised concept plan to government in summer 2018, which was approved in October 2018. The project will now move to business plan phase.
The business plan phase finalizes details such as scope and budget, and will take between 12 and 18 months, according to the news release. Upon approval of the business plan, the project will proceed to procurement and then construction.
“It’s a go! This new hospital has been needed for a long time, and is why Premier John Horgan and I made it a key priority in our efforts to improve health care throughout northern B.C.,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The new hospital will bring better acute, primary and community care for people living in Fort St. James, local First Nations and the surrounding area. For a growing senior population in the region and for the economy as a whole, it is an essential public service.
“I want to acknowledge the support and commitment of the Stuart-Nechako Hospital District, the community of Fort St. James, and the Nak’azdli Whut’en ( Fort St. James), Yekooche First Nation, Tl’azt’en Nation (Tache, Binche, Middle River) and Takla Lake First Nation. Economic optimism is returning to the region after an incredibly difficult summer as a result of wildfires. I know we will continue to work together as we develop the business plan and build the hospital.”
The hospital opened in 1972 and is outdated in terms of space, functionality and technology. Currently, the hospital has 12 beds and offers emergency, acute and complex care care, as well as residential care, lab and X-ray services, and mental health and addictions counselling.
“This hospital replacement is very welcome news for the community and health-care professionals. This project will improve services for both those giving and receiving care in the Fort St. James region,” said Colleen Nyce, chair of the Northern Health board.