BURNS LAKE – The Province announced that it is moving ahead with plans for a Lakes District Hospital replacement in Burns Lake as a part of Budget 2012. The announcement comes less than three months after the tragic events on Jan. 20, 2012 when a fire destroyed the local sawmill.

“Burns Lake has been in need of a new hospital for some time. This has been my number one capital priority as well as Northern Health’s. Today’s announcement that the Province is moving forward with construction of a replacement care facility is great news,” said Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.

It is anticipated the new facility will go to procurement later this year, with construction expected to start in 2013 and be completed in 2015. The project will generate approximately 200 direct jobs.

Examples of possible features for the facility include up to 16 beds, acute care services, emergency services, diagnostic imaging, a laboratory and pharmacy. There are also plans at the new hospital for a procedure room large enough to be used as an operating room in an emergency.

Anticipated cost of the new hospital is in the range of $50 million to $55 million and will be refined once the tendering process is complete and a contract awarded. Funding will be cost-shared by the Province and Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District.

The current Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre in Burns Lake was built in 1962 and refurbishing was deemed too costly. Since 2001, the Ministry of Health has provided approximately $500,000 to the Northern Health authority in support of improving the condition of the facility.