The old Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife, which the territorial government now calls Legacy Stanton, is on pace to begin providing long-term care to patients by 2022, the territory’s health authority says.

The former hospital is being retrofitted to house 90 long-term and extended-care beds.

The building now sits vacant near the capital’s new $350-million hospital, which, according to media reports, has been plagued by a series of disruptive and damaging water leaks since opening its doors in May, resulting in mould and mounting concerns from staff members.

Meanwhile, work at the old Stanton site is on schedule to be completed by spring 2022, with the building expected to become operational during the same time frame, stated spokesperson Damien Healy in an email to NNSL Media.

Once work is completed, the plan is to offer outpatient rehabilitation and other services in the same building.

The anticipated completion date is in-line with the department’s original timeline for the project, according to Healy. Decommissioning and decontamination work at the former Stanton site began on time in July.

A look at the former Stanton Territory Hospital, which is now being retrofitted to house long-term care beds. Photo courtesy of Todd Engram Department of Infrastructure.

Crews began removing hazardous materials from the building in August, states Healy.
Remediation of hazardous materials has been completed on all three levels of the building, writes Healy, adding ongoing demolition work on the building’s first level is nearly wrapped up.

Asked how much is being spent monthly to heat and power the building as work continues, Healy stated, “utility costs for the building are under review as work progresses.”

Those costs are anticipated to vary as the building’s development continues, he added.
“It is expected that there will be an initial savings during remediation and demolition, with costs increasing during tenant improvements.”

Boreal Health Partnerships (BHP), contracted in 2015 to build the new Stanton Territorial Hospital under a public-private partnership (also known as a P3) with the GNWT, is responsible for completing the remediation work at Legacy Stanton. BHP has subcontracted Clark Builders to carry out the work, according to Healy.

Mounting concerns at new hospital

While the health authority says things are running smoothly at the former Stanton site, the same apparently can’t be said for the newly-opened Stanton Territorial Hospital.

An October report from CBC North, citing internal documents, reported multiple water leaks had occurred at the facility, including a grey water leak discovered only a day after the hospital opened its doors. According to CBC North, documents revealed the leak, which contained bodily fluids, caused damage to a wall in the hospital’s dialysis unit.

A Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority spokesperson confirmed to the broadcaster that since May there had been five water leaks at the hospital and that two had caused mould to grow.

The authority told CBC North work to remove mould was done quickly and by the book.
But problems at the hospital reportedly aren’t going away. Neither are the frustrations of employees.

Staff spoke out anonymously to Cabin Radio last month. Ongoing water leaks, they lamented, have forced the closure of crucial facilities multiple times.

Contractor under scrutiny 

Meanwhile, Stanton Territorial Hospital’s woes are being placed under the microscope nearly 2,000 kilometres away, in Saskatchewan, according to CBC News.

That’s because both Stanton Territorial Hospital and the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford were initially tied to Carillion Canada, once a P3 partner in the respective projects. Carillion was set to maintain both hospitals for three decades under the agreement.

That never happened.

In 2018, Carillion filed for creditor protection and liquidated its assets. Dexterra then came on board as the third party partner in Yellowknife to maintain and operate the facility.

Saskatchewan’s new $407 million hospital has also been plagued by structural issues.

According to CBC News, the facility is in need of a new roof, and that drinking water in the building, containing high levels of copper or lead, has been deemed unsafe to consume.

Similar problems at the two facilities tied to Carillion, reports CBC News, recently prompted the province’s official opposition to call for a closer look into the contractor – and P3 agreements as a whole.

Brendan Burke

As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility...

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