After years of delay, construction on a new hospital for western Labrador is finally in full swing.
Seven days a week for as many as 12 hours a day, crews are working to put the steel in place for a new Labrador City complex that will replace Capt. William Jackman Memorial Hospital, which was built more than 40 years ago.
Labrador West MHA Jim Baker said the Jackman hospital "has certainly been in dilapidated condition and certainly [is] long past its useful life."
Concerns about Capt. William Jackman hospital have been flagged for years. A 2008 report found that the aging building failed to meet even some basic fire safety requirements, including adequate emergency lighting.
The $120 million construction project also includes a new campus for the College of the North Atlantic.
Planning for the new, $90 million hospital started in 2006, although it appeared for a while that the project was derailed.
"We hit a snag actually," said Baker, adding that the Iron Ore Co. of Canada has "a potential mine site, I guess, about five or six kilometres away from here."
The fear was that blasting at the site would affect a new structure. After testing, the government eventually decided to move forward.
Baker said the new campus will open in September 2011, and the hospital will be able to see patients by 2013.