Sask. NDP questions province over early knowledge of potential SHNB roof problems

The Sask. NDP is questioning the province after learning there were concerns about the roof during Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford’s design phase. Tyler Schroeder / Global News

The Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford (SHNB) opened in March 2019, but not even three months later, the roof failed and required an immediate replacement.

Now, the Sask. NDP is questioning the province after learning there were concerns about the roof during the hospital’s design phase.

Documents obtained through Freedom of Information highlighted the issue.

“What these documents show is a government putting politics before people, bulldozing their way to a big ribbon-cutting with no concern for the wellbeing of patients or staff,” NDP Leader Ryan Meili said.

“How did the Minister of Health let people down so badly, and what is he doing now to ensure future infrastructure projects aren’t falling apart before they even open?”

READ MORE: Roof at new Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford leaks, needs replacing

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Just days after opening, both SaskBuilds and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) began receiving reports of roof leaks.

SaskBuilds project director Jill Zimmer described the roof as “a serious bone of contention during design and construction.”

SHA’s executive director of infrastructure management Derek Miller indicated more than 20 reported leaks.

“We are fortunate this didn’t occur last week before the grand opening,” Miller was quoted saying on March 13.

Reported by the Saskatoon StarPhoenix on Tuesday, the material used to build the roof was similar to what was used in the facility’s walls two years prior, which also failed during installation.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford marks new beginning for psychiatric care

“Too many projects like this are being built by out-of-province and out-of-country companies that it seems are only here to make a buck,” NDP Health critic Vicki Mowat said.

“We need to be building major infrastructure with Saskatchewan companies, Saskatchewan materials and Saskatchewan workers.”

The province said Access Prairies Partnership (APP), who was selected to build the SHNB, assured them there was no issue with the roof.

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They also said the government does not select or approve individual materials for use during construction in these types of projects.

“That is done by the private sector partner regardless of the model.  In the case of the SHNB the selection of products would have been up to APP and its subcontractors,” the province wrote in a statement in response to the NDP.

READ MORE: Former Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford remains unsold

“We understand that in this instance, two different products were used but provided by the same manufacturer and the builder is seeking recovery from the supplier.”

The NDP is now asking the province to make sure the hospital audit ordered in October addresses what the opposition describes as “serious failures in the decision-making process between the SHA and SaskBuilds.”

“Our government has committed to a full facility audit of the SHNB, which is expected to be completed in Spring and we will continue to work with Access Prairie Partnerships (APP) as we move through the process,” the province continued in their statement.

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