It is official. St. Paul’s Hospital is moving.
Providence Health has announced plans to build a $1-billion dollar hospital on the False Creek flats next to the Pacific Railway Station.
Current plans for the news hospital include five buildings, and will add a higher percentage of single-patient rooms.
That is something experts say stems the spread of infection.
The 18-and-a-half acre site on Station Street was purchased back in 2005.
WATCH the animated vision for the new St.Paul’s Hospital
(Note: The video is a previous conceptualization of what a potential future redevelopment would look like. The designs and concepts are not considered final.)
The move to the new location means there won’t have to be $80-million dollars in seismic upgrades to the existing building, which has been on Burrard Street for over a century.
Also included in the plans, social housing units and other outreach programs.
This is the latest announcement regarding the future of St. Paul’s Hospital.
The possibility of moving the hospital was first raised a decade ago, but that option was tossed aside by Premier Christy Clark in 2012 – who pledged to revitalize the existing hospital.
NDP MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert says news of the move is a promise broken by Clark.
“The Premier stood at St. Paul’s hospital, said she was going to renew it downtown, on site so downtown Vancouver would have an emergency room right in its centre.”
Chandra-Herbert says the plans he is hearing about are even worse than one previously talked about.
He says these new plans don’t even call for an urgent care centre at the current St. Paul’s site, which poses a risk for his constituents in the West End and Coal Harbour.
Providence Health says consultations with West End residents will get underway.
Project lead Neil MacConnell says part of that discussion will be about what type of care they need.
“Whether that’s at the St. Paul’s site, or in other clinics or situations in the West End is yet to be determined.”
One of the many voices speaking in favour of the move is world renowned HIV/AIDS researcher Dr. Julio Montaner.
Montaner says St. Paul’s and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS have a long history with the West End, and residents shouldn’t be worried.
“The reality is we’re moving a few blocks away. I mean, really. It’s not like we’re going to another continent.”
Montaner says the bottom line is the current St. Paul’s Hospital is just not adequate — and renovations will never make it good enough.
CKNW’s Simi Sara spoke to reporter Charmaine de Silva about the change of plans for St. Paul’s:
Health Minister Terry Lake defends decision to relocate St. Paul’s Hospital.
Lake says redeveloping the current site would have meant double or even quadruple occupancy in many rooms, whereas the new site will be primarily single-bed rooms.
“When I looked at that I thought, do I want to be the health minister that rebuilds a hospital that’s already out of date? This gives us an opportunity to have a standard of care that will be world-leading, world-class, and I think it’s the right decision for an investment of this magnitude.”
He told media the new St Paul’s will likely be a public-private partnership, a model used to build and operate the new Abbotsford Hospital.
NDP health critic Judy Darcy says going the P3 route will cost taxpayers more money.
Darcy says the Abbotsford Hospital proves that.
“It cost 300 million dollars more over the life of the agreement because it was built as a public-private partnership. The reason for that is very simple-the borrowing costs are higher for the private sector than they are for government, that’s why the costs go up significantly.”
The business case for the proposal is now in the works. That should take a year to complete.
Providence Health says a new hospital is still over seven years away.