January 27, 2015 2:05 am
Updated: January 27, 2015 3:40 am

Still no timetable for St. Paul’s Hospital redevelopment

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When walking past St. Paul’s Hospital it’s hard not to notice its striking brick facade and the giant signs announcing a major redevelopment of the aging building.

It’s been more than two years since the B.C. government announced plans to rebuild the downtown Vancouver hospital and critics accuse the government of dragging its heels.

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The hospital was erected in 1912, then expanded in the 1930s. Many say it is in dire need of an upgrade. The St. Paul’s Foundation website states that “none of the buildings will survive an earthquake or other major disaster.”

“We know the oldest part of this building is the emergency room and it’s on the first floor in a building that would just crumple, ” says Spencer Chandra Herbert, the NDP MLA for Vancouver – West End. “A little bit of shaking, the walls would go out and it could collapse on itself.”

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A redevelopment plan has been in place since 2010. The work would begin in the back of the hospital where the old condemned Nurses Building stands.

But there are still questions about funding. When asked for an update, Minister of Health Terry Lake told Global News:

“Planning redevelopment of these hospitals is a highly complex planning process, requiring comprehensive analysis, research and modeling, and the Ministry of Health is continuing its due diligence work.”

But Herbert says that’s not enough.

“In the budget that comes in February, I want a clear commitment that we will rebuild and that we’ll start this year,” he says.

-with files from Linda Aylesworth

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