The Alberta government has taken steps to get the construction of the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital back on track. The project is more than $83 million over budget and still under construction more than a year passed its initial finish date.
On Monday, the government issued a Notice of Default to Graham Construction, which is headquartered in Calgary. The notice indicated that the contractor has 15 days to submit a plan of action to the government outlining how it intends to finish the project in accordance with its contract. The construction firm could face termination if it fails to do so, stated a press release.
“This is a very serious step and not something we are doing lightly. We have worked closely with the construction manager to resolve the issues but the bottom line is simply that the hospital is not progressing as it should,” stated Infrastructure Minister Sandra Jansen in a press release.
“Our responsibility is to the people of Grand Prairie and area who deserve a new and modern hospital. They’ve waited a long time for this hospital to be completed and we must take appropriate action to make sure it gets built,” she added.
Graham Construction secured the contract for the project in July 2011 at an estimated cost of $647.5 million.
The hospital was originally scheduled to open in early 2017 but the date has since been set back to 2019. In 2017, the estimated cost was updated to $730 million.
The project includes 200 inpatient beds, an emergency department, cardiac care, neonatal intensive care, obstetrics, and a surgical and rehabilitation unit. The new hospital and cancer centre are intended to serve as a regional referral centre for northwestern Alberta residents.
A report released by the Grande Prairie District Chamber of Commerce in 2016 estimated the new hospital would generate about $443.7 million in output and $276.7 million in gross domestic product annually in Alberta. The report indicated that the hospital was expected to create jobs for more than 500 workers, as well as boost the local economy through an increased demand for transportation, housing and services.
Kristen Spruit is a Calgary-based Troy Media business reporter.