BY HEIDI ULRICHSEN
Sudbury Regional Hospital is one step closer to re-starting construction on their one-site building.
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MHLTC) spokesperson John Letherby confirmed his department sent SRH a letter Jan. 30 that responds favourably to the hospital?s pre-tender construction documents.
The pre-tender documents were submitted by the hospital on Nov. 11.
Letherby says the letter sent by MHLTC confirms the pre-tender documents ?show that the size and the scope of the project are in the confines of the Phase II plan that was laid out by the hospital.?
SRH is still waiting for the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure Renewal to comment on the documents before they are officially approved by the government.
?I believe that if everything that needs to be put in order is in order, there would be confirmation that the hospital could proceed from that point of view,? Letherby said.
?That ministry are the ones that are putting together the financing when it comes to the actual bricks and mortar and everything going on with it.?
Representatives from the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure Renewal could not be reached for comment as of Northern Life?s press deadline.
Hospital CEO Vickie Kaminski, who has been in Toronto since Sunday, seemed surprised the health ministry responded to the pre-tender documents this week.
?That?s news to us,? said the CEO, who was reached by cellphone. ?We haven?t seen the letter, and if it?s there, we haven?t heard that it?s there. If it?s there, we?re thrilled.?
Kaminski says it usually takes several months for pre-tender documents to be approved by the government. She has been in contact with the ministry several times when they?ve had questions.
?If they (the documents) were approved, it would take us one step closer. We still need approval by the Ministry of Infrastructure. But if the Ministry of Health has approved it...we are one step closer to putting a shovel in the ground.?
Provincial officials announced in October construction on the hospital will re-start sometime in 2006, and will be completed in 2008 or 2009. Work on the one-site building was abandoned in 2001 after capital costs ballooned to three times the original figure.
This time, construction will be funded under the province?s Alternative Financing and Procurement Strategy (AFP), which involves the lowest-bidding
contractor borrowing money to build the structure, and the province paying them back after it is completed.