Nfld. & Labrador

Long-term care home construction in Corner Brook by fall 2017: premier

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball announced Friday that government has called for proposals to build a 120-bed long-term care home.

Home to be built in public-private partnership and leased to government

Dwight Ball says building the Corner Brook facility in a partnership with the private sector will be good value for money. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Premier Dwight Ball says construction on a new, 120-bed long-term care home in Corner Brook should begin this fall. 

Ball and various cabinet ministers were in the west coast city Friday to make the announcement.

"This is the first construction project for the new Western Memorial Regional Hospital campus in Corner Brook, and will set the stage for the larger health care project in the future," Ball said.

He said the government is issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) to establish an industry short list to solicit proposals.

According to a news release from the premier's office, the home will be a public-private partnership — built by a private company with resident care provided by public sector employees.

"By partnering with private industry, we can help ensure a new facility is designed, built, financed and maintained in a way that provides greater value for money," Al Hawkins, minister of Transportation and Works, said in a statement.

The long-term care home will also have 15 palliative care beds and 10 rehabilitative care beds.

Ball said he hopes the new facility will be operational by 2019.

62 people waiting for beds

"It's a big step forward for us," said Gerald Parsons, who is co-chair of a committee that has been fighting for a new hospital in Corner Brook.

"We've been promised this for ever so long, and nothing moved."

Parsons said the committee "always knew that the long-term care had to come first ... Once this starts, we'll see a movement on the hospital."

He said the last numbers he's seen suggests that there are 62 patients occupying beds in Western Memorial Hospital who should instead be in a nursing home.

As for the public-private partnership, Parsons said, "The province has no money right now. The only way we're every going to get this built, is build it this way. I got no problem."

With files from Gary Moore