Frequently Asked Questions

Campbell River

Updated August 2016

Also see: Project Frequently Asked Questions  and Comox Valley Frequently Asked Questions

What is the North Island Hospitals Project?

The North Island Hospitals Project (NIHP) involves construction of two new hospitals on northern Vancouver Island. A new $331.7 million, 39,826-square-metre, 153-bed hospital is being built in the Comox Valley and a new $274.5 million, 32,316-square-metre, 95-bed hospital is being built in Campbell River.

What is the overall budget for the NIHP?

The final approved budget for the project is $606.2 million to design, build, partially finance and maintain the two new hospitals.

How will the North Island Hospitals Project impact the local economy?

Construction of the new Campbell River Hospital will create an estimated 800 direct and 700 indirect jobs from 2014 through 2017.

Will local companies and individuals be involved in building the new Campbell River Hospital?

Local companies and workers are very much involved in building the new hospitals. The North Island Hospitals Project and Tandem Health Partners are working with the Provincial Government, School Districts, North Island College, the North Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society, employment foundations, trade associations and others to develop apprenticeship and other training programs and employment opportunities. We are encouraging local hire and local business participation.

How long will hospital construction work take?

Site preparation work began in March of 2013 and concluded in December 2013. Actual construction of the new Campbell River Hospital began in early July 2014 towards completion of the new hospital by late 2017.

How much parking will the new hospitals have?

  • When completed, the new Comox Valley Hospital will include more than 700 stalls in parkade and surface parking on site, including at least 24 handicapped/disabled parking stalls, 10 main door drop-off spaces, two HandyDART parking spaces and 80 bicycle spaces.
  • When completed, the new Campbell River Hospital will include more than 430 stalls in parkade and surface parking on site, including at least 13 handicapped/disabled parking stalls, two HandyDART parking stalls and 80 bicycle spaces.

How will the hospital construction work impact traffic?

Construction of the new hospital will impact traffic at various times and locations. Trained traffic control workers will be employed to maintain safety and enforce an approved traffic management plan.

With the approval of the City of Campbell River, Birch Street has been temporarily closed between 1st Avenue and Evergreen Road to make room for construction staging. A corridor remains open through this area for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including new crosswalks.

Why was this site chosen for the new Campbell River Hospital?

The decision was made to build the new hospital at the current site, located on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Birch Street, because Island Health owns the property, the site is well serviced and is centrally located. Once the current facility is deconstructed when the new hospital opens, there will be lots of room for future expansion.

Will the new hospital be large enough?

The new hospital will be more than large enough to dramatically increase the quality of local health care on many fronts. So much has been learned about patient care since the existing Campbell River Hospital was built. Evidence-based advances made in other facilities, such as the new Patient Care Centre in Victoria, or the internationally-renowned Maternity Ward at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, will be incorporated in our new hospital design.

  • The Emergency Department will be more than three times larger.
  • Maternity – including a Centre for Aboriginal Maternity– will more than double in size, providing a much more relaxed, natural and family-oriented experience.
  • Larger single-patient rooms will create more private space for patients and their families.
  • Operating room space and flexibility will increase.
  • A larger Ambulatory Care procedural area will dramatically increase the number of procedures which can be done on an outpatient (day-visit) basis, further reducing demand for hospital beds.
  • New or enhanced space will be created for Cardio-pulmonary diagnostic services, Orthopedics and more.

These advances are designed to ensure patients get better faster, and return home to their families sooner, while also creating an environment where staff want to work and learn.

Consultation with multiple stakeholders and clinical staff will continue through to completion to ensure space is both maximized and functional for patients, staff and the public.

How will affected hospital programs and services be accommodated?

Deconstruction of the south end of the Sunshine Wellness Centre eliminated the Quadra meeting room and some classroom space. A trailer (decant) was brought in to house some of the displaced programs, such as Operating Room Bookings. A number of other programs and services were relocated.

Where will the helipad be located during construction?

During construction the helipad will be relocated to a temporary site.

What about the minimum of 40 new community care beds that were promised by Island Health?

Island Health announced Dec. 17, 2014 that Park Place Seniors Living Inc. is the preferred proponent following a Request for Proposal process seeking an owner/operator for 40 new community care beds in Campbell River. This brings Island Health one step closer to fulfilling our commitment to open 40 additional community care beds prior to the opening of the new Campbell River Hospital in late 2017.

Park Place Seniors was selected as the preferred proponent following a detailed evaluation process. Island Health and Park Place Seniors will work toward finalizing a project development agreement in early 2015. Park Place currently operates New Horizons Care in Campbell River, and will build an addition on its current facility to house these 40 new beds, 20 of which will deliver licensed dementia care. Construction is expected to take 21 months, with the new wing to open in 2017.

 For more information view the news release:

How will physicians and staff be involved in the design of the new facilities? How much has already been decided?

To date, over 20 user groups (300 people) made up of clinical and non-clinical staff have been extensively involved in the creation of RFP documents that were given to the three proponents to guide the development of their proposals. Clinical and non-clinical staff continued to be consulted during the RFP process as proponents developed their proposals. In addition, there will be numerous opportunities for clinical and non-clinical staff to provide input during the design and construction phase with regard to clinical flow, room and department design, clinical equipment purchases and overall functionality of both facilities, as well as their importance in relation to the North Island healthcare service delivery model.


What about Mental Health and Substance Use Services?

The original long-term plan was to shift the majority of the adult mental health and substance use services (MHSU) inpatient beds from the Comox Valley to the new Campbell River Hospital. Following consultation with physicians at both Campbell River and St. Joseph’s hospitals, it was determined it would not be practical to move these beds. Representatives from Island Health, St. Joseph’s General Hospital and the Chief of Staff for Campbell River Hospital met with the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital Board Directors at a public meeting held in November 2012 to discuss the MHSU beds. The CSRHD board voted in favour of keeping the MHSU inpatient beds at the new Comox Valley Hospital. Following the CSRHD Board approval, the Island Health Board of Directors also approved this recommendation.

How were bed numbers determined?

The bed numbers for the North Island Hospitals Project are based on future population projections, health needs of the population and anticipated changes in how we deliver services Over the last 20 years, the percentage of patients requiring a bed for treatment has dropped dramatically as more and more treatments and services are delivered on a day-visit (outpatient) basis.

The new hospital in Campbell River will feature an increased emphasis on outpatient care. This will ensure that the hospital will not only have more beds, but it will use those beds more efficiently.

Will there be trauma services?

There will be trauma bays in the Emergency departments at each hospital site. Higher level trauma services in the Emergency department will be designed to address the type and level of patient care required. For example, there may be specific bays for casting, eye care, and other levels of emergency care that will be closely linked with medical imaging (x-rays) and other emergency related services.

What services will be provided at each hospital? 

The services currently available at Campbell River will remain available recognizing that there may be some modifications arising from technological advances, efficiencies in service delivery and innovation in healthcare delivery. Innovation and advances in technology, including medical innovation allow us to deliver better services with less space and make better use of existing space. Space utilization is a high priority for this project and Island Health is working closely with the partners on the project to ensure space is used in the most efficient and effective way. The facility will provide opportunities to introduce new specialized services to northern Vancouver Island. They will also improve Island Health’s ability to recruit and retain physicians and other health care professionals.

Who is building the new hospitals and what is the timeline?

Tandem Health Partners was selected to design, build, partially finance and maintain the new hospitals following a competitive bid process. In late June, 2014, Island Health and Tandem Health Partners reached a final fixed project cost agreement that demonstrates value for taxpayers’ dollars and achieves the project goals to develop facilities that:

  • are patient centred, for Islanders, First Nations and the elderly
  • will attract and retain health care professionals
  • will be high-performing, sustainable and energy-efficient.

It is anticipated that the hospitals will be completed and ready for move in by the fall of 2017.

What is a PPP?

A PPP is a long-term, performance-based contract where government has control and ownership of the infrastructure (in this case, two hospitals) while transferring parts of the risk associated with designing, building, financing, and maintaining major projects to the private sector. The benefits of PPPs include value for money, increased innovation, cost certainty, and better-managed life cycle costs.

Why are you building two hospitals instead of one?

In 2006/07 Island Health presented the merits of a single regional hospital model to replace the existing Campbell River and St. Joseph’s General hospitals.

After consultations with multiple stakeholder groups, highlighting the advantages of a single hospital model and the sustainability of a single hospital model, the local communities and the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District opted for a two hospital approach. Consequently, Island Health turned our efforts towards a two-hospital model.

The two-hospital model, balances the critical need for new hospital infrastructure and the communities’ strong desire to see a hospital remain in each community.

What did the Campbell River Hospital site preparation work involve?

  • The south end of the Sunshine Wellness Centre, about 20%, was deconstructed.
  • A temporary ambulance access road has been created.
  • The Community Care Building (on Birch Street) will be deconstructed.
  • Two modular trailers were added to house displaced health care services and project management offices at the corner of Birch and 2nd Avenue.
  • Two temporary gravel parking lots were built near Yucalta Lodge.
  • The new hospital construction site will be fenced.

Who did the site preparation work?

The companies who prepared the hospital sites are different than the companies who will be designing and building the hospitals. Island Health is responsible for managing site preparation through the tendering and awarding of the work to companies.

In Campbell River, Palladian Developments Inc. of Nanaimo, was awarded the site preparation contract on February 22nd.

Campbell River Staff

Please visit the Project Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to questions we commonly hear from staff at St. Joseph’s and Campbell River.

For more information contact:

Dan MacLennan
Communications & Community Relations Officer
North Island Hospitals Project
Phone: 250-850-2943