Editor's note: the following article was first published in the Sept. 18, 2012 edition of The Compass.
Construction on the $108-million long-term care facility taking shape adjacent to the Carbonear General Hospital is proceeding on schedule, say those close to the project.
The Compass had been hearing completion of the megaproject could be delayed by up to two years, largely due to labour shortages in the skilled trades.
But that came as news to the engineer in charge of overseeing construction on the project.
Ken Shugarue, formerly of Riverhead, Harbour Grace, is managing the construction phase of the project for EllisDon, the Mississauga-based engineering firm, which was awarded a $73.7 million contract to construct the main building for the new long-term care facility in February. EllisDon is North America's largest developer of new hospitals and health care facilities.
"From our end, the end date is the same," Ken Shugarue said last week.
Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy told The Compass in an interview last fall the facility was expected to take four years to build and should be ready for occupancy and opening in 2014 or 2015.
Steel has already started to go up at the site, Shugarue said Sept. 13, and, "by the middle of next week, you'll see a significant difference in that site from where you see it now."
He explained the mass excavation and all blasting has been completed, the concrete stairwells are going up and structural steel has started to rise.
Acknowledging that, "from a provincial point-of-view, there is a shortage of skilled trades in Newfoundland and Labrador, but nothing that's hit our project.
"We're rockin' out there," he said, referring to the Carbonear project.
While the Department of Health will take over operations of the facility once it's complete, the construction phase falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial Department of Transportation and Works.
The Compass attempted to reach both Transportation Minister Tom Hedderson and Carbonear MHA Jerome Kennedy last week, but neither minister was available for comment.
Costing 10 times the $11 million it cost to build the Carbonear General in the mid-1970s, the new long-term care facility is arguably the single largest and most ambitious building construction project ever undertaken in the Trinity-Conception region.
The 250-bed facility will take the shape of two four-story structures joined in the middle, taking the shape of the letter H.
It will be linked to the hospital building via some form of indoor tunnel or passageway. The 18,500 square-metre structure that will house the yet unnamed long-term care facility, will include space for recreation therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and spirituality.
The new long-term care facility will replace three older facilities: the Pentecostal Seniors Home in Clarke's Beach, Harbour Lodge (the former Halfway House Motel) in Carbonear, and Interfaith Home, formerly the Carbonear Red Cross Memorial Hospital.
Despite numerous renovations and extensive retrofits over the years, both the Interfaith Home (built in 1956) and Harbour Lodge (1964) have become obsolete to the needs of long-term care residents in the 21st century.
An independent assessment committee first identified a new long-term care facility as a priority for this region in 2002.