- West Park Healthcare Centre, based in York, Ontario, broke ground last week on a CA$1.2 billion, 27-acre, "integrated healthcare campus of the future" that will provide complex care for aging patients, those living with chronic disease and those who have experienced a traumatic injury or illness.
- The project will see the construction of hospital and non-hospital components, including a six-story, 730,000-square-foot hospital with 314 beds. The facility will feature 80% single-patient rooms with private washrooms, a geriatric day hospital, clinics, a satellite hemodialysis center, outpatient services, outdoor therapy gardens and other green space, walking trails and courtyards, a terrace on each floor, outdoor access from multiple points inside the building, a new campus entrance and on-campus public and private roads. The project will also include independent living residences. The entire campus will be designed with senior and wheelchair access in mind and will also include sustainable elements like electric vehicle charging stations, operable windows in patient rooms, LED lighting, energy-efficient equipment and low-emitting materials.
- In August, West Park entered into the CA$1.2 billion contract with EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare to design, build, finance and maintain the campus. EllisDon, which estimates the project will reach substantial completion in 2023, will receive payments during construction, one substantial completion payment and then facility maintenance payments for 30 years. The hospital will support the project financially through fundraising and operating revenue.
Canada has long used public-private partnerships to develop public projects, but there are those who have expressed concern about its viability as a way to deliver the country's national healthcare facilities.
Controversy has been building around a CA$2 billion, three-hospital replacement at the Queen Elizabeth II campus in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Government officials have proposed that a reported CA$726 million portion of the work be carried out by private-sector partners, citing all the advantages that P3s can bring, including more reliable project delivery schedules, a reduced burden in financing large capital projects and access to design and construction expertise.
However, opponents of the hospital P3 have argued that reducing the government's financial burden now will translate to larger future debt; that private financing is more expensive than public; that the private partner will charge user fees; that P3s come with more expenses like accounting, legal and development fees; and that money should be invested into the public healthcare system, "not the pockets of private companies."
Compared to their use in Canada, P3s are relatively new to the U.S., but as more public agencies tap contractors and developers to build their projects this way, the same controversies are likely to follow.