The construction site for the new Mills Memorial Hospital has been cleared. (Binny Paul/The Terrace Standard)

Bird nests key to decision to log hospital site in Terrace

Nests would have posed a risk of increasing costs

Northern Health says it logged the spot on which a new Mills Memorial Hospital will be built so as to prevent birds from nesting there, a circumstance that would have increased costs.

“Once a bird has nested in a tree, legally, to protect the bird and the nest, one cannot cut down that tree or those nearby,” said Sarah Artis from the health authority.

“Clearing trees now will prevent potential bird nesting, which could have delayed the clearing of trees later, and as a result, delayed the start of construction. Any delay to construction, minor or major, would add significant costs to the project.”

Fallers hired by Northern Health moved onto the site last week, cutting what Northern Health first called ‘hazard trees’ and then other trees.

The new Mills will be built at the same location as the current one but much closer to the Sande Overpass. Construction plans call for the current Seven Sisters mental health facility to be demolished to make room for the new Mills but a new and larger Seven Sisters will also be built.

“While a design build agreement for the construction of a new Mills Memorial Hospital is still in the works, we are managing the project to ensure no delay,” said Artis of the $447.5 million project.

“Please be assured that plans for the new hospital include significant landscaping and revegetation.”

The provincial government and Northern Health have been negotiating final contract details with multi-national PCL Construction since before the end of 2020.

Based on scheduling released last year, a contract was to have been finalized by now and the project underway.