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Vaughan hospital finally moving forward
Request for proposals marks a step forward, but the community must still raise $250 million. The goal remains to have the hospital built by 2019.
June 29, 2015
Noor Javed

Vaughan’s hospital project has gotten the official go-ahead to begin the tendering process.

At a celebratory news conference in Vaughan Monday morning, councillors were joined by a host of provincial ministers past and present to announce that the request-for-proposals process for Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital was now open.

The announcement in itself is just another step in the long hospital building process. But in Vaughan, it was a long time coming.

“I think we can all agree it’s been a bit of rollercoaster ride over the last couple of years,” said Steven Del Duca, the local MPP and transportation minister. He was speaking from the parking lot of Canada’s Wonderland, across the street from where the hospital will be built, near Jane St. and Major Mackenzie Blvd. “But it’s been worth it,” he said, his words interrupted by screams from people riding a nearby rollercoaster.

Vaughan’s hospital project has been in discussion for more than a decade. But a complicated land deal over the 33-hectare site had held up the project for the past few years. Recently the city renegotiated a new deal with a group, the Vaughan Health Campus of Care, to ensure the project wouldn’t be held up any longer.

The VHCC will give Mackenzie Health 25 hectares with no conditions and will hold on to the remaining eight hectares to build other “non-competing” health services.

Three consortiums have been shortlisted to bid on the project. The winning group is expected to be announced next spring. The goal remains to have construction completed by 2019, said Altaf Stationwala, president and CEO of Mackenzie Health.

“The bidders will put their schedules forward,” said Stationwala. “We did lose time. The bidders know what timelines we want to hit, and maybe they will hit them,” he said. “I won’t know for a year from now, but if it shifts, it shifts.”

The local community has to raise $250 million for the project, which will go to construction, equipment and furnishings. That’s on top of $80 million Vaughan residents have been paying annually since 2009 for the land through a surcharge on their property taxes — and will do so until 2022.