Nova Scotia

CBRM hospital redevelopment plans move ahead despite COVID-19

Heavy equipment is moving some earth at the hospital in Sydney, marking the start of the Nova Scotia government's health-care redevelopment project in Cape Breton Regional Municipality. It is going ahead despite the state of emergency.

Work has begun at the Cape Breton regional hospital in Sydney, planning continues elsewhere

Work on a new parking lot has begun at the Cape Breton regional hospital. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

The province's state of emergency has not affected planning for the government's health-care redevelopment project in Cape Breton Regional Municipality, says the project's newly appointed senior medical director.

However, public health restrictions may play a part in the work schedule, said Dr. Elwood MacMullin, a longtime surgeon and oncologist.

"The construction work will have to be slowed a bit because we have to take into account the necessity to continue social distancing and ensure the safety of the workers and contractors in doing this work," he said.

"It has not been excessive to date, but there are definitely some impacts."

Planning is going ahead on various aspects of the project. Heavy equipment began moving earth next to the cancer centre last week to create new parking spaces.

Those spaces will be needed once new buildings start going up where the back parking lot is now, said MacMullin, recently named senior medical director after Dr. Kevin Orrell left the position to become the province's deputy health minister.

Dr. Elwood MacMullin was recently named senior medical director of the Cape Breton health-care redevelopment project. (Nova Scotia Health Authority)

The redevelopment project will see community hospitals in New Waterford and North Sydney close. They will be replaced with community health centres and expanded long-term care facilities.

It will also include expansion of other services at the Glace Bay hospital and the regional hospital in Sydney.

MacMullin said he believes the project will significantly improve health-care facilities in CBRM.

"We will have the capacity, infrastructure-wise, to provide a better level of care and that, hopefully, will translate into better outcomes for Cape Bretoners," he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said plans to move Nova Scotia Community College's Marconi campus to downtown Sydney are not being delayed because of the state of emergency.


Tom Ayers


Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for 36 years. He has spent half of them covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at


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