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‘Major step’ in Vaughan Hospital journey celebrated
Formal request for proposals is issued
June 29, 2015
Adam Martin-Robbins  

Construction of Vaughan’s new, “state-of-the-art” hospital could be under way by this time next year.

Officials from Mackenzie Health, the ministry of health, Infrastructure Ontario, the city and Vaughan Health Campus of Care, among others, gathered in the parking lot of Canada’s Wonderland, across the road from the hospital site, this morning to announce the issuing of a request for proposals (RFP).

That means the three teams short-listed to compete for the contract to design, build, finance and maintain the estimated $1 billion Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital can now begin the process of preparing their bids.    

The pre-approved consortia include Hospital Infrastructure Partners, Mackenzie Vaughan Health Partnership and Plenary Health.

The RFP process is expected to take roughly a year and once it’s completed construction can begin almost immediately, according to Altaf Stationwala, president and CEO of Mackenzie Health, the hospital corporation overseeing the project.

“This is another major step in the journey toward this major capital project,” said Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins, who was in Vaughan Monday to make the announcement.

“Once it’s completed, the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will have a state-of-the-art emergency department, the most modern surgical services and operating rooms, advanced diagnostic imaging, specialized ambulatory clinics and intensive care beds, integrated smart-technology systems and approximately 90-per cent single, acute care patient rooms for infection prevention and control.”

It’s not clear, at this point, if the delay in issuing the RFP will prevent the 350-bed hospital from opening its doors in 2019, as originally projected.

“We’ll have to evaluate what the bidders put forward. They’ll all put different schedules forward,” Stationwala said. “Our hope is we’re still going to finish construction by 2019. We’re still aiming for that, but won't know until the bids finally come in.”

Monday’s announcement comes less than a month after the city and the Vaughan Health Campus of Care (VHCC) revealed they finally reached an agreement giving the non-profit group a key role in developing the non-hospital lands at the 85-acre site for ancillary health care services, which could include a long-term care facility, medical laboratories and a post-secondary education facility.   

The years of wrangling over the VHCC’s role in the development of the land around the hospital wound up stalling the issuing of the RFP.

“I think it’s actually quite appropriate, frankly, that we’re here in the parking lot adjacent to the hospital lands, of course, but also adjacent to Canada’s Wonderland,” said Vaughan MPP Steven Del Duca, who also serves as transportation minister.

“Because as I look at Greg (Sorbara) and I look at Eric (Hoskins) and I look at Maurizio (Bevilacqua), and others, we can all admit that it certainly has been a bit of a roller coaster ride over the last couple of years.”  

But the wild ride isn’t over just yet.

Carrie Liddy, a city hall watcher and a regional council candidate, is seeking to have the courts render the zoning bylaw for the hospital lands void or have it sent back to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which refused to grant her a hearing when she first appealed the bylaw.

The city’s position is that the OMB’s decision was correct and it is asking for the courts to dismiss her appeal.

A hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 24, according to city officials.

Meanwhile, efforts to raise the $250 million needed for the so-called “local share” – 10 per cent of construction costs and 100 per cent of equipment — is taking shape.

The official fundraising campaign will likely be launched in the fall, according to former MPP Greg Sorbara, who heads up Mackenzie Health Foundation’s fundraising campaign cabinet.