Cape Breton Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia, and its population of roughly 95,000, is looking at a mini construction boom, with five major publicly funded projects worth about $1 billion on the books.
Two of the projects are healthcare-related, two are long-term care homes, and one is an educational facility. Together, they are expected to create nearly 800 full-time construction jobs over a six-year period. They will also produce hundreds of private-sector spin-off jobs. Apartment buildings are starting to go up in downtown Sydney, and commercial spaces will begin coming on stream soon as well.
Two years ago, the provincial government put in place an aggressive plan for healthcare renovation. Now, it is paying off.
“We haven’t built a lot of hospitals or renovated our hospitals in the province for quite some time, and I think out of public need, demographics, and just timing, that was a focal point for the government to start putting that investment in place,” said Trent Soholt, executive director of the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council (NSCSC), a group that provides information about future labour demand and supply. “One of the biggest challenges we’ve had for so many years is the forecast for work has always seemed fairly low. I’ve been with the council for 16 years, and this is the first time I’ve felt this sort of energy and excitement.”
Following are details on the five projects:
Cape Breton Regional Hospital
A $500-million rebuild and expansion project is under way at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. The emergency department and cancer treatment centre are being doubled in size to better meet the needs of both patients and health care professionals.
The project includes building a new Cape Breton Cancer Centre and a clinical services addition that includes a new emergency department and critical-care department in a 190,000-square-foot building at the back of the hospital. Following the renovations, there will be room for 72 new in-patient beds and surgical suites at the CBRH.
The stand-alone cancer centre will be larger and provide a more comfortable, supportive centre focused on patients and their families. Technology and additional supports all located under one roof will enhance the quality of care for patients, closer to home, and reduce the number of visits over the course of treatment.
The new emergency department will be larger with more exam and patient rooms. Emergency patients will be able to access services like CT scans, x-rays and ultrasound without leaving the department.
Earthwork is being done and the land is being prepared for the new foundations, with Lindsay Construction doing the work. The project is expected to be completed in 2027.
Northside Health Centre
Construction has started on a modern, $170-million community health centre and 60-bed long-term care home in Northside Business Park in North Sydney. The project will include 12 short-stay beds as well as a
new laundry centre, which will serve the region’s hospitals from one location.
The construction project was awarded to PCL Constructors Canada Inc. in 2020 and is scheduled for completion in 2027.
Upon completion, the new health centre will replace Northside General Hospital, strengthening primary health services in the area.
Nova Scotia Community College
- Construction is under way on a new $170-million Nova Scotia Community College campus on the waterfront in Sydney.
Site prep work began in summer 2020, and the works are scheduled to be completed before the Fall 2024 semester begins.
The campus will total approximately 300,000 square feet and consist of four connected buildings with an open design. It is being designed and built in accordance with accessibility guidelines and LEED environmental standards.
Lead contractor is a joint venture between EllisDon Construction Services and Joneljim Construction. The vision is to create a campus with a dynamic learning environment.
New Waterford Community Hub
The $150-million New Waterford Community Hub project consists of a new health centre, 60-bed long-term care facility, and a new school with outdoor recreation facilities to be built on the existing Breton Education Centre site. It will replace the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital.
The project was awarded to PCL Constructors Canada Inc. in 2020 and is expected to be completed in 2027.
Once finished, the New Waterford area will have a modern health centre with more space for doctors and health care teams.
Glace Bay Hospital
A planned $56-million expansion of the 35-year-old Glace Bay Hospital is in the detailed design phase.
The emergency, cancer centre, and critical care departments are slated to be renovated and upgraded.
A contractor has not yet been chosen. The project is scheduled for completion in 2027.
Upon completion, the hospital will have a new and expanded emergency department to provide improved flow for staff, physicians and patients.