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Yukon Liberals question cost of Whistle Bend extended care facility

Yukon Liberal leader Sandy Silver says PCL Construction is building an extended care facility in Saskatchewan, which is larger than the planned Whistle Bend facility, and cheaper.

Opposition points to similar facility in Swift Current, Sask., which is larger and cheaper

A design illustration of the planned Whistle Bend continuing care facility in Whitehorse. (Yukon government)

Yukon Liberal leader Sandy Silver has questions about the construction costs for the planned Whistle Bend continuing care facility in Whitehorse, saying a similar facility in Saskatchewan is being built for less.

The Yukon government will spend $158 million for the first phase of the facility, which will contain 150 beds. PCL Constructors won the contract and is expected to break ground on the facility this summer.

Silver said the Yukon price tag dwarfs the cost of a similar project in Swift Current, Sask., also by PCL. That long term care facility will have 225 rooms, and cost $50 million less to build.

"When you compare the prices, it's about a 50 per cent markup, comparatively," Silver said.

"Now, you can't compare these things 100 per cent. It is harder to build in the Yukon, but we're also hearing that the build here is a 'pre-fab' — that it is being built down south and shipped up. So that would minimize expenses, not add to them."

Silver said building in the Yukon typically costs about 30 per cent more than down south, not 50 per cent more.

Silver also said the contract for the Swift Current facility carries 30 years of maintenance, including structural changes, repairs and improvements — something the Yukon government does not have in its contract for the Whistle Bend facility.

Silver is also worried that the Whistle Bend facility may be "overbuilt," if it's designed for 300 beds. The territorial government has said the additional 150 beds will be added at a later date.

"Are they making the parking lot for 300? Are they making the boiler system for 300? How much money in this build is going to go into preparing for a 300 bed facility? We want to look at other options." 

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