Much of the new healthcare spending will help pay for major expansions of hospitals in Halifax and Sydney.

That may help attract new doctors to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital as other hospitals in nearby communities close.  

A $100-million expansion of Cape Breton's largest hospital has been the talk of the town for the past 24 hours.

Health Minister Randy Delorey announced a new 190,000 square foot facility that will house a new intensive care unit, emergency room, and cancer centre.

The reaction is mixed among residents.

“It was a very positive thing. I think they are finally coming in and making an investment into health care in Cape Breton,” said Stephanie Black. “I don't know if it's going to be a little bit too late. We really need immediate attention now as far as shortage of doctors. Nurses are overworked. I don't think it's going to rectify the problem immediately.”

Dr. Margaret Fraser has spent many hours working in the ER department at the Cape Breton Regional and is cautiously optimistic about the new development.

“If this expansion goes through as they are purposing, and if they build what they say they're going to build, it will make life in the emergency department a bit easier for us,” Fraser said. “However, unless the problems in the wards in the hospitals are solved, it's not really going to lead to a long-term solution.”

Delorey says the expansion of the hospital is just the first phase of the redevelopment plan. Collaborative care health centres in New Waterford and North Sydney are part of future steps.

“They're making this announcement and thumping themselves on the chest, all on the backs of the residents on the Northside community and the New Waterford community and the services and closures we are going to lose in the end,” said Gordon MacDonald of Capers 4 Health Care, an advocacy group that was set up after it was announced last year that two hospitals would be closing.

Delorey says work is continuing on projects in North Sydney and New Waterford, as well as the expansion of the Glace Bay hospital, and information will be brought forward to all communities in the near future.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.