Premier announces downtown Halifax hospital will get a suburban outpost
The province bought a 15-acre lot in Bayers Lake for a new outpatient centre
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HALIFAX — A new outpatient centre for Halifax's downtown QEII hospital is to be built amid the retail outlets of Bayers Lake in the city's western suburbs.
Premier Stephen McNeil unveiled the project Thursday at a 15-acre site he said the province purchased for $7.5 million as part of the redevelopment of aging QEII sites, including the trouble-plagued Victoria General (VG).
The facility will offer services including blood collection, x-rays, initial visits with specialists, and other services.
"I was an emergency nurse at the VG 25 years ago and we've acknowledged that building should have come down about 20 years ago," Paula Bond, vice-president of integrated health services for the Nova Scotia Health Authority, told reporters.
The announcement was the latest in a series of hospital-related spending announcements from the McNeil government, which could call an election as early as this month. Bond said her praise of the government's decision was non-partisan.
"I'm going to sing the praises of anybody who is going to help me move out of there," she said.
McNeil said access to Highways 102 and 103, which run very close to the site, was a key factor in choosing the spot, as well as population growth in the area.
Critics noted the lack of public transit access, which McNeil said he plans to discuss with the Halifax Regional Municipality. He also said roads will be extended into the property.
"There's three or four different ways into this site," he said to reporters after the announcement, held between Home Outfitters and Marshalls.
Fourteen other sites were considered, he said.
The land was purchased from a company owned by the Halef family, who have donated to the Liberal party, but McNeil said that had no influence on their decision.
"It had nothing to do with that," McNeil said. "I'm not even sure who we bought the land from, to be frank."
NDP Leader Gary Burrill said the location is inconvenient for people without a car, or who live across the harbour.
"This is being sited in such an incredibly improbable location," he said to reporters.
Health Minister Leo Glavine was not present for the announcement, and McNeil said he wasn't sure where his cabinet colleague was Thursday.