Nova Scotia

Truro hospital budget unrealistic: auditor general

The budget for a new hospital in Truro wasn't realistic and could never have been enough to complete the building, Nova Scotia's auditor general said Wednesday.
The budget for a new hospital in Truro wasn't realistic and could never have been enough to complete the building, Nova Scotia's auditor general said. (CBC)

The budget for a new hospital in Truro wasn't realistic and could never have been enough to complete the building, Nova Scotia's auditor general said Wednesday.

Jacques Lapointe was asked by the government to review the cost overruns at the Colchester Regional Hospital.

The original budget was $104 million but it's now estimated it will cost $184 million, which Lapointe said doesn't include the cost of furniture and equipment.

"Weak oversight and project management have negatively affected the project," he said in a statement.

"Major design decisions were made without consideration of the related costs. As a result, the building cost may be greater, and the design not as efficient, as it could be."

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said the province has implemented 14 recommendations from Lapointe on the project, including a funding plan to operate the 124-bed hospital.

Lapointe noted that the department has said no additional operating funds will be provided to the hospital, which is larger than the one it is replacing and offers more services.

Future large building projects, he said, should be managed by a central agency with construction expertise.

The hospital is scheduled to open next year.

Lapointe said there are also no plans in place for demolition of the old hospital.

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