New hospital announced for Perth-Andover
Published Monday, December 17, 2012 3:02PM AST
The past nine months have been anything but easy for the people Perth-Andover, but good news has finally arrived.
The New Brunswick community has been trying to recover after major flooding devastated the village in the spring.
Now, the provincial government has announced Perth-Andover will be getting a new hospital.
The news came last week when the Alward government tabled their capital budget for the coming fiscal year.
Word of the coming construction is being welcomed in the town.
“The medical community, as a whole, is happy with the news,” says Dr. Carter Kennedy, one of a handful of physicians who work shifts at the hospital.
His approval of a new hospital is contingent on the new facility housing similar services to the current one.
“Twenty to 22 beds, with two beds that would be for cardiac patients, state-of-the-art emergency rooms, and all of the allied health-care professionals that we currently enjoy – speech pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy.”
Floodwaters ravaged Perth-Andover in March, forcing the evacuation and temporary closure of the Hotel-Dieu Saint Joseph Hospital.
Some parts of the facility remain closed.
The building sits in the flood plainand there is a fear any restoration work would be subject to future flooding.
“My goal is to make sure we have solid health care in this region all the time, even during a flood,” says Wes McLean, Tory MLA for the riding of Victoria-Tobique.
He says a new hospital could be combined with a nursing home project already in the works, but admits there could be a loss of some services.
“It’s not going to be an exact replica of the facility we currently have, but that’s why we’re working with the minister, with physicians, to identify what the critical needs are,” says McLean.
While Perth-Andover doctors are endorsing the location and construction of the new hospital, they are still at odds with the provincial government over who will pay for the damage done by floodwaters at their regular offices.
“That structure has been rendered valueless, but that is completely independent of the hospital issue,” says Kennedy.
The site of the new hospital sits far from the St. John River, and far from the threat of future flooding.
Construction is expected to begin in 2015.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell
A flood in March forced 500 of Perth-Andover's 1,780 residents out of their homes and resulted in about $25 million in damage.