Territory rules out P3 for new continuing care centre

The Yukon government says it has no plans to use a public-private partnership to build its next big continuing care facility, set to open in 2018.

The Yukon government says it has no plans to use a public-private partnership to build its next big continuing care facility, set to open in 2018.

The territory’s decision to enlist the help of Partnerships B.C. for the project caused some – including the Official Opposition – to raise a red flag about such partnerships, commonly known as P3s.

When the B.C. Crown corporation was created in 2002, its mandate was to “promote, stimulate and help implement P3 projects – primarily by working with and supporting public agencies as they develop partnerships with the private sector.”

But the Department of Highways and Public works says that’s not what’s happening in the Yukon.

“It’s a really important point actually, that this isn’t a P3,” said Scott Milton, director of realty and capital asset planning.

Earlier this month, the auditor general of Ontario slammed the provincial government for its poor use of P3s. She said such projects had cost $8 billion more than they would have with traditional financing.

Milton said the Yukon government chose Partnerships B.C. to help with the continuing care facility because of its expertise in managing large, specialized projects, not because this project will be a P3.

For the Yukon project, Partnerships B.C. is being brought on as a “procurement advisor,” he said.

“They’re the ones that can assist us in developing the right documentation to do a request for qualifications. They can assist us in doing the proper documentation and process for a request for proposals. They can assist us in forming the right documentation for a design-build agreement.”

Milton said the government is still in the very early stages of planning the continuing care facility in the Yukon. It will include 150 beds now, and another 150 beds later.

The project’s next step is to find a “compliance team” of architects and engineers. That team will help make sure whatever builder is chosen follows all the specifications and code requirements.

“From there we start a process of assessing the qualifications of potential design builders,” Milton said. He estimates that process will take us into late spring.

Those design-build teams will be whittled down to a short list.

“We would work through the summer through a proposal process with them. Probably by sometime next fall we will be a position to choose the winning team, who will then engage in the design and build of that facility,” he said.

Last week Yukon Health Minister Doug Graham announced the new facility will be built in Whistle Bend.

In his announcement, Graham said the second phase will begin as soon as this first phase is completed.

The first phase of the project is expected to cost between $145 and $160 million, including design and engineering.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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