Health Minister Announces Business Plan Approved for new Terrace Hospital

John Crawford

After years of planning, the way has finally been cleared for the start of construction of a new hospital in Terrace.

Health Minister Adrian Dix  visited the city Tuesday morning, where he announced the business plan for the new state-of-the-art hospital has been approved by the provincial government -- and the beginning of construction is "just around the corner".

Dix said the long-awaited project can proceed to the tendering process, and he hopes to see shovels in the ground early next year --- with the new hospital ready for use in 2024, after which the old one will be demolished.

The new 78-bed hospital will be more than twice the size of the current 58-year-old facility -- and Dix said it will be state-of-the-art.

"The new hospital will be home to enhanced critical care for people with an expanded emergency department, including two trauma bays, six stretcher bays, and pediatric care space;  when it comes to surgical care, our loved ones deserve the best care and the new hospital will help make this happen for people living in this community," he told the crowd.

The province will share the total project cost of $447.5-million with Northern Health and  the North West Regional Hospital District.

"There's a lot of excitement in the northwest and this project is a great commitment from the provincial government," said Regional Hospital District board chair Barry Pages of Masset.

Northern Health Board chair Colleen Nyce, who MC'ed the announcement, said she was "grateful to those who give their time and expertise to make sure that this facility and its services will support the entire northwest in addition to the local community."

The project also includes a new and larger Seven Sisters regional mental health facility, which is expected to open next year. 

The old hospital will remain in use while the new one's being built -- and Dix acknowledges there will be challenges during the construction period.

"That's just inevitable but I think, when I talk to people in the hospital as I did this morning, and I talk to staff in the hospital -- the decision to proceed was made last year, in February, and the decision now that we're advancing, that this is actually the first project that's announced under our government, that's announced at this stage, we are committed here," he said.

He also says there are no plans to change the name -- it'll still be Mills Memorial Hospital.  



May 21, 2019


Ministry of Health
Northern Health
North West Regional Hospital District



Full steam ahead for new Mills Memorial Hospital


TERRACE - The business plan for a new state-of-the-art Mills Memorial hospital has been completed and officially approved on time and on schedule.


It is now full speed ahead for one of the highest-priority health capital projects in British Columbia.


"This is an exciting time for people in Terrace and area, as we are delivering on the goal of a modern, bigger hospital that will be part of a network of care in the North that will have more beds and up-to-date technology to improve patients' care," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "The new facility will support the public health-care needs of local residents, as well as people in nearby communities, for decades to come.


"Premier John Horgan made the commitment in 2017 that this government would proceed with a new Mills Memorial after several years of delay. Thanks to the Premier following through, we will now proceed with the tendering of contracts, and shovels will be in the ground in 2020."


The new Mills Memorial Hospital will serve as the Northwest region's level-three trauma and inpatient surgery centre, providing immediate assessment, resuscitation, surgery and intensive care for injured patients. Currently, the hospital is a level-five trauma centre, meaning patients are stabilized on-site before being transported elsewhere.


The 78-bed hospital is expected to be more than twice the size of the current facility, going from 11,610 square metres (124,969 square feet), to approximately 26,400 square metres (284,000 square feet). It will feature private rooms, an expanded emergency department including two trauma bays, six stretcher bays, pediatric care space and four operating rooms, as well as the latest diagnostic imaging equipment.


Mental health service delivery will be brought up to modern standards with a new and larger Seven Sisters regional mental health facility being built on hospital grounds. There will be 25 beds at the new building, an increase from 20, as well as natural lighting and access to outdoor spaces for patients.


The mental health facility is expected to open in fall 2020. The new Mills Memorial Hospital will also see an improvement in mental health services, with 20 of the 78 beds dedicated to adult inpatient psychiatric care.


The project cost of $447.5 million will be shared between the provincial government through Northern Health and the North West Regional Hospital District, which is contributing $110.2 million.


The new Mills Memorial will be built at the north end of the current hospital grounds and is expected to open in 2024. Demolition of the existing facility will follow to make way for more parking and landscaping.


Northern Health led the business planning process in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, the North West Regional Hospital District and various partners, including the First Nations Health Authority, Kitsumkalum Band, Kitselas Band and Nisga'a Lisims Government.




Colleen Nyce, chair, Northern Health board -


"This announcement is truly wonderful news for Terrace and the network of communities served and supported through Mills Memorial Hospital. A modernized hospital will enhance our ability to recruit and retain physicians, nurses, specialists and other allied health professionals now and in the future."


Barry Pages, chair, North West Regional Hospital District -


"We are excited to see that the tremendous amount of work that has been underway has now resulted in this announcement. The North West Regional Hospital District Board has been committed to partnering with the Province and Northern Health Authority to see this project become a reality, to strengthen our existing services and to allow for increased health care closer to home for all Northwest residents."


Quick Facts:


* Business planning finalizes details such as scope, budget and procurement model.


* The next step is the procurement process, followed by construction.


* The project will be design-build, in which a contractor designs and builds the facility to meet standards and performance requirements specified by the health authority.


* The health authority will retain ownership throughout construction and will be responsible for maintaining the facility over its lifespan.


* Mills Memorial Hospital will be planned to an energy-efficiency level above the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standard.


* Opened in 1961, the 44-bed Mills Memorial Hospital is outdated in space and functionality.


A backgrounder follows.




Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)


Northern Health
877 961-7724 (media line)


Timelines for the approval of a redeveloped Mills Memorial Hospital


* September 2010 - North West Regional Hospital District met with Kevin Falcon, former minister of health, at Union of British Columbia Municipalities, requesting replacement of Mills Memorial Hospital.


* October 2012 - Master planning for Mills Memorial contract awarded.


* September 2013 - Concept planning underway.


* April 2014 - Concept plan first received by government. Master plan and costing complete. The concept plan did not receive the Province's go-ahead.


* October 2017 - Updated concept plan submitted by Northern Health to the Ministry of Health and new government led by Premier John Horgan.


* Feb. 9, 2018 - Government announced approval of the concept plan. Once a concept plan is approved, a project moves to the business planning phase, which takes 12 to 18 months.


* May 21, 2019 - Government announced approval of the business plan.


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