Nova Scotia

Halifax Infirmary redevelopment project loses potential bidder

A spokesperson for the provincial government confirmed Friday afternoon that EllisDon Infrastructure Health Care is pulling out of the bid process.

EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare plans to pull out of the tender process

The QEII New Generation project will allow outdated buildings at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax to close. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

One of the two groups pre-qualified to bid on the Halifax Infirmary redevelopment project is pulling out.

A spokesperson for the Nova Scotia government confirmed Friday afternoon that officials with EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare provided notice that they intended to withdraw from the tender process.

That leaves Plenary PCL Health as the only remaining consortium approved by the former Liberal government to bid on the massive health-care construction project that includes more beds and operating rooms and a new cancer centre.

The government spokesperson said the province would continue with the tender process for the project that is to be constructed using the public-private partnership (P3) model, and that the bid from Plenary PCL Health would not automatically be approved.

A spokesperson for EllisDon did not respond to requests for comment.

The news follows reporting by CBC earlier this week that the awarding of the tender, which was supposed to happen in late spring, is delayed for several months. A government spokesperson attributed the decision to "current market conditions."

Although it's not clear what that means, internal documents obtained by CBC show population projections used in 2015 to help plan the redevelopment project have been outstripped by the boom in new residents coming to Nova Scotia in the last two years.

Recommended project changes

Updated data from 2021 suggests the province's population will reach 1,069,731 by 2031, according to the documents. That is a 13.5 per cent increase over the population figures used during the planning process. The documents call that a "modest estimate."

To deal with this change, the documents recommend expanding the redevelopment plans to include four more operating rooms, 144 more inpatient beds and adding a new emergency department to the plans.

Potential delays, along with rising inflation, mean the budget for the project is all but certain to jump, a concern expressed earlier this week by opposition politicians.

The Halifax Infirmary redevelopment is the largest component of the so-called Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre New Generation project. That work also includes expansions and renovations at the Hants Community and Dartmouth General hospitals and a new outpatient centre in Bayers Lake.

In 2018, the new generation project was estimated to cost $2 billion. Completion of the work will allow for the closure and demolition of the Centennial, Dickson and Victoria buildings that are part of the Victoria General Hospital complex in Halifax.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Gorman is a reporter in Nova Scotia whose coverage areas include Province House, rural communities, and health care. Contact him with story ideas at michael.gorman@cbc.ca

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