Work starts on northern BC cancer
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – At the end of
July, Premier Gordon Campbell and Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon,
together with health and local government representatives, celebrated
the start of construction on the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North.
“With the start of construction for this new regional cancer centre, we
are entering a new era of cancer care in the North,” said Premier
Campbell. “The Centre for the North will offer cancer patients and their
families a greater range of care options, including radiation therapy.
The new service will eliminate the need for northern residents to travel
south for treatment – saving them both time and money.”
The new, 5,000-square-metre (54,000-square-foot) Centre for the North
will be the BC Cancer Agency’s sixth regional cancer centre. The new
centre will include two linear accelerators, which will bring the
delivery of radiation therapy to Northern B.C.
The total capital cost of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy (NCCS) is
$102.8 million, of which $99.5 million is funded by the province. The
Centre for the North project is being delivered as a public-private
partnership with a capital cost of $69.9 million and is expected to
create around 445 direct construction jobs over the life of the project.
The BC Cancer Agency has contracted Plenary Health to design, build,
finance and maintain the new centre for 30 years, ensuring it is built
on time and on budget. The other capital costs of the NCCS include a
contribution from the Fraser Fort George Regional Hospital District of
up to $4 million for renovations at the University Hospital of Northern
British Columbia that will support the new cancer centre.
“The Centre for the North will bring critical cancer care closer to home
for Northern British Columbians,” said Falcon. “This new facility, as
part of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy, is part of our
government’s ongoing commitment to ensuring B.C. remains a leader in
cancer care, with some of the most favourable outcomes in Canada and
The centre will also include a computerized-tomography (CT) simulator; a
chemotherapy treatment unit; a pharmacy; and general outpatient clinics.
Key design features include the first green roof in Prince George, as
well as extensive use of wood, reflecting one of the primary industries
in the North.
“The majority of the project’s construction costs will be spent locally
with more than 90 percent of the trades coming from the North,” said Pat
Bell, Prince George-Mackenzie MLA. “Additionally, the project will use
nearly 656,000 board feet of wood, with an emphasis on local species
available in B.C. and products manufactured in the province.”
The Centre for the North is a key component of the Northern Cancer
Control Strategy, a partnership of the Province, BC Cancer Agency,
Provincial Health Services Authority and Northern Health. The strategy
is focused on reducing the impact of cancer in the North, and includes a
range of prevention, detection and cancer care services.
“Today’s event marks an important milestone in the provision of cancer
treatment for families in Northern B.C.,” said Shirley Bond, Prince
George-Valemount MLA. “For decades we have been asking to find ways to
keep cancer patients closer to home, surrounded by their loved ones. The
Centre for the North is a critical component of a strategy that allows
that to happen. We’ve been waiting for today for a very long time.”
“This new cancer centre will help to address cancer rates in the North
and improve the quality of life for northern patients living with
cancer,” said John Rustad, Nechako Lakes MLA.
The annual number of new cancer diagnoses in northern B.C. is projected
to reach approximately 1,628 by 2020 – an increase of nearly 26 percent
“We are very excited to begin the construction phase of our newest
cancer centre,” said Dr. David Levy, president of the BC Cancer Agency,
an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority. “The Centre for
the North will help to improve the quality of cancer care for cancer
patients living in the North through the co-ordination of new treatment
and support services, as well as research activities.”
“A key focus of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy is enhanced care
for local residents,” said Provincial Health Services Authority board
chair Wynne Powell. “In addition to this new centre, we are committed,
along with our strategy partners, to continue improving cancer services
and programs around northern B.C.”
“The Centre for the North will be a key support and resource for
Northern Health’s community cancer clinics located across the region,”
said Dr. Charles Jago, Northern Health board chair. “We look forward to
working with the BC Cancer Agency, through the Northern Cancer Control
Strategy, to further enhance the continuum of cancer services we provide
to northern patients and their families.”
For more details on cancer care services at the new BC Cancer Agency
Centre for the North, visit the agency’s website at
For more information about the construction of the centre, please visit
The provincial government is making record investments in healthcare
facilities in northern B.C. and throughout the province. Over the next
three years, British Columbia’s healthcare system will benefit from
investments such as new medical equipment and modernized health
facilities as part of a $2.6-billion health-sector capital plan.
Posted August 12, 2010