box10.gif (1299 bytes)








Oct. 15 set as deal deadline for Brampton P3

BRAMPTON, Ont. – The Ontario government has given the green light to the William Osler Health Centre’s plan to build a new hospital using a private-public partnership (P3), but it instructed the participants to raise the financing and have a deal in place by Oct. 15.

According to Osler president and CEO Bob Bell, it’s now up to the private consortium building Brampton’s new hospital to raise the money needed to get it built. Bell told the Brampton Guardian newspaper that he’s hopeful the group will meet the deadline of Oct. 15.

The Healthcare Infrastructure Company of Canada (THICC) will have to secure all the funding for the new hospital before the deadline the group proposed and the WOHC and the Ministry of Health approved of.

Bell said he has to believe THICC will have the money by the deadline to get Brampton a new hospital after nearly 20 years of waiting. “We would like to see this hospital built sooner rather than later,” he said.

Costs for the hospital have mushroomed to $550 million from the original price tag of $165 million.

Bell said construction of the new facility could begin shortly after the THICC announces it has the necessary funding. The project is expected to be completed by 2007, two years later than first planned.

According to Bell, THICC had originally projected financial closure for January of this year, but a legal battle to stop construction of the hospital warded off potential investors. That set the date for financial close back until agreements with investors were reached.

A Superior Court judge ruled against the unions trying to hold up construction of the privately funded hospital. The unions vowed to appeal and the case is ongoing. Though he didn’t want to speculate what would happen if THICC fell short of cash by Oct. 15, Bell said there could be problems with further financing.

The new facility will have 608 beds, nearly double the current number in Brampton. It would also lower the ratio of one bed for every 1,000 residents closer to the provincial average of one bed for every 400 people.

Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell said that she and the rest of Brampton wouldn’t get excited about a new hospital until everyone sees a shovel in the ground and crews working.

“My reaction is simple,” she said. “This is another announcement and if the announcement moves to actual construction and this project begins, we’ll celebrate then.”

Fennell said, “We’re challenged with an aging facility that was beyond its capacity 20 years ago. We have a rapidly growing and diverse multicultural population. Even if we really begin construction in October, that’s great news because it’s the furthest we’ve ever gotten in the quest for more hospital beds.”