Groves, Infrastructure Ontario seek possible bidders for hospital project

Infrastructure Ontario and Groves Memorial Community Hospital officials have taken the first step in selecting a team to deliver a new hospital in Aboyne.

They will meet with prospective bidders on Sept. 25 regarding a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a consortium to design, build and finance a new hospital to replace the existing Groves hospital in Fergus.

The RFQ was issued on Sept. 17.

In June, Stantec Architecture was chosen to lead the planning, design and compliance process to replace  Groves hospital, but finding out the cost for that work may take some time.

Wellington Health Care Alliance president and CEO Jerome Quenneville explained Stantec was brought in to draw up specifications for the new facility, while the current RFQ is for the bidders who will construct the actual building.

The new Groves Memorial Community Hospital, which is expected to be completed in mid-2019, will be located in Aboyne, between Elora and Fergus. The new building will be designed to accommodate 45 beds and allow for possible expansion. The current Groves hospital operates with 42 beds.

While acknowledging the slight  increase in beds, Quenneville said “the idea is to make more appropriate use of space and expand services.”

RFQ submissions will be reviewed to shortlist project teams with the design and construction experience, as well as the qualified personnel and financial capacity, to deliver a project of this size and complexity.

Those teams will be invited to respond to a request for proposals, expected to be released mid-2016.

The project will be built using Infrastructure Ontario’s alternative financing and procurement (AFP) delivery model, a public-private partnership that transfers risks associated with designing, constructing and financing a building to the private sector. Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care are working with Groves hospital to build a replacement that will remain publicly owned, controlled and accountable.

Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, stated projects like the new Groves hospital will strengthen the economy and create jobs.

“Once completed, this project will enhance medical care for the Fergus community … and the construction phase will generate economic activity in the surrounding area,” said Duguid.

Hospital board chairman Howard Dobson stated, “Groves hospital staff, physicians, volunteers and partners have been hard at work meeting throughout the summer to establish the guidelines and performance requirements for the successful building team.”

Bert Clark, president and CEO of Infrastructure Ontario, stated the Groves project is “Infrastructure Ontario’s 58th health care project to be delivered under our AFP model.”

Clark said Infrastructure Ontario has a 97% track record of completing major infrastructure projects within budget and, “We look forward to continuing that success by delivering this modern health care facility to the community on time and on budget.”

Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott considers the RFQ announcement “great News,” noting “we are again one step closer to seeing the new hospital open its doors.”

Arnott also recognized the contribution of local officials and residents.

“Our community has been working toward the goal of a new hospital for many years,” Arnott said.

“I want to once again thank the many people involved: Groves staff, volunteers, the county, the township, and the many supporters across our community.  Without their efforts, we would not be where we are today.”

During his 25 years at Queen’s Park, Arnott has advocated many times for a new Groves hospital.  

“As the MPP for Wellington-Halton Hills, I intend to continue to monitor the progress being made at Groves hospital, and ensure that we continue to move forward towards our vision of a new, state-of-the-art hospital in Centre Wellington,” Arnott said.

The issue also came up briefly at the Centre Wellington Township committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 21.

Councillor Mary Lloyd considered the RFQ announcement “a tremendous step forward” and another step to finding a qualified builder for the project.

Lloyd also anticipated the pre-qualification process could take up to six months.

“Keep tuned. There will be more to come on this hospital,” she said.