The Seven Sisters mental health facility needs to be torn down to make room for new Mills. (File photo)

The Seven Sisters mental health facility needs to be torn down to make room for new Mills. (File photo)

Terrace mental health facility build plan changed

Seven Sisters facility is part of larger new Mills project

There’s a change in how the current Seven Sisters mental health facility will be replaced on the grounds of Mills Memorial Hospital.

The current facility needs to be demolished to make room for a large parking lot area for the new Mills Memorial and the original the idea was to build the new Seven Sisters first, tear down the current one and then start work on the new Mills.

But now, says Sarah Artis from the Northern Health Authority, contractor PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. is considering building the new Seven Sisters and the new Mills at the same time.

The move would maximize the use of skilled labour required for both structures, she said.

“Based on current projections, the earliest the new Seven Sisters facility will be completed is the end of 2023 and the latest is the end of 2024 – around when the new Mills Memorial Hospital is to be completed,” Artis added.

The current Seven Sisters, built in 2005 at a cost of $2.5 million, has 20 beds but the new one will have 25 beds, part of an overall increase in mental health services within the region.

At the very start of planning for a new Mills, the Northern Health Authority and the provincial government regarded the new Seven Sisters as a project separate from the new Mills.

But when there were no bids that satisfied the health authority and the province, the new Seven Sisters was added to the new Mills project.

“One contractor building both new facilities improves the overall construction coordination, and the likelihood that timeline and budgetary expectations can be met,” said Artis.

While the City of Terrace has issued a foundation permit for the new Mills, plans for the new Seven Sisters have yet to be submitted.

The new Seven Sisters will be located just to the west of the current Mills Memorial Hospital, across Haugland from the Cassie Hall Elementary field.

When the new Mills was announced in May 2019, the project schedule called for the contract for the new Seven Sisters to be let that year with construction to take place into the next year.

The stated cost then was $18 million and rolled into the Mills Memorial project which was to cost $447.5 million. Those were 2019 costs, however, and two years later, new costs are unknown.

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