Building Magazine


Construction officially begins on The Niagara Health System’s new health-care complex

Ground was officially broken for the Niagara Health System’s new health-care complex and Walker Family Cancer Centre by It’s Our Time fundraising campaign patient heroes on four excavators driven by operators from Walker Industries, Matt’s Excavating, Rankin Construction and PCL Constructors.


PCL, the constructor for the project, intends to maximize the use of local sub-trades and has indicated that the majority of the on-site labour will go to tradespersons in the Golden Horseshoe Area. PCL will be calling for tenders from pre-qualified sub-contractors for the project. The majority of tendering activity will take place in early 2010. Firm commitments for portions of the work have already been made during the proposal stage of the project to subcontractors who participated in developing the lump sum construction cost.


Construction of the new facility will be completed by the end of 2012, which means the new health-care complex will open its doors to patients in 2013.


To be located at First Street and Fourth Avenue in St. Catharines, the new health-care complex project will provide a sizeable boost to the regional and Ontario economies during construction by directly and indirectly supporting and creating approximately 5,400 jobs, many of which will be in the Niagara region. At the peak of construction activity, about 1,000 workers are expected on the site daily. Approximately 200 new health-care jobs will be created once the facility opens to support the new regional services in cancer, cardiac and mental health disease. 


The new health-care complex will be approximately 970,000 square feet and will be built on a 32-acre section of the 40-acre site in St. Catharines. It will be environmentally friendly and has been designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.  Environmental features include energy efficient lighting, cooling and heating, which will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The 375-bed replacement facility for the aging St. Catharines General and Ontario Street sites of the NHS will offer acute and critical inpatient services, surgical, emergency and ambulatory services available under one roof for the residents of St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara-on-the Lake and the area. The facility will feature 80 per cent single patient rooms, the most available in a community hospital in Ontario.


Plenary Health Niagara’s team includes Plenary Group, Borealis Infrastructure, PCL Constructors Canada Inc., Bregman + Hamann Architects, Silver Thomas Hanley Architects, and Johnson Controls. Long-term debt financing is provided through the private placement market and arranged by TD Securities Inc., RBC Capital Markets and BMO Capital Markets. The lead long term lenders were Sun Life Financial and The Great-West Life Assurance Company and others that included Industrial Alliance and Bimcor. Société Générale, TD Bank and Bank of Montreal provided construction financing for the project.


Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will work with the Niagara Health System to build the new health-care complex, which will remain publicly owned, publicly controlled and publicly accountable. 


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