After being informed last week that the cost of installing a Computerized Tomography (CT) Scanner in the Whistler Health Care Centre had increased by approximately $900,000, the Whistler Health Care Foundation (WHCF) has been in daily talks with the regional health authority.
And those discussions are making progress, according to WHCF chair Marnie Simon, who expects to be able to announce a resolution in the next few weeks that could mean lower costs.
“It was a bit of a shock when the number came in at $900,000 above what we had budgeted,” said Simon. “We had already set aside a contingency of $300,000 above our estimates for the construction and installation… this was $600,000 beyond that.
“Right now we’re in the process of negotiating and trying to find ways to cut the costs back and still have the project move forward at a later date.”
Construction will likely be delayed until next spring, as the window for starting the project is quickly closing.
“There’s almost no way we can start digging in the ground now, as we planned in the beginning of the fall. It’s not good to build in the middle of winter when you’re knocking holes in the walls of the health care centre. At this stage we need more information and more planning, and to look at all aspects of the project. Those things take time.”
The project will include building a 900 square foot addition to the Whistler Health Care Centre in the parking lot off Lorimer Road, and installing a refurbished CT Scanner in the new space. The scanner will be used to better diagnose brain, organ and tissue injuries before referring patients to hospitals in North Vancouver and Vancouver.
The WHCF’s estimate for the facility was $1.5 million, not including the $300,000 contingency. The estimate that the WHCF was given by Vancouver Coastal Health Authority was $2.37 million.
Most of the funding for the new facility was raised by the WHCF with donations from organizations like the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, health care foundations in Squamish and Whistler, and dozens of private donations. Raising another $600,000 in the community is not an option at this point, says Simon, given the time and effort it took to come up with donations.
“Right now we’re working with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority as collaboratively as possible to find ways to cut those costs and make it more feasible,” she said.
Once the money was raised, with the Sea to Sky Regional Hospital District contributing about 40 per cent of the estimated capital costs, the project was turned over to the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA), which has the final responsibility over the construction and operation of the facility.