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Financial Close Reached on Niagara Health System's New Health Care Complex

Posted Mar 31st, 2009

ST. CATHARINES: A major milestone has been achieved for the Niagara Health Systems (NHS) new health-care complex. The Niagara Health System and Infrastructure Ontario announced today that Plenary Health Niagara and the Niagara Health System reached financial close on March 27, 2009. This means that financing is in place to design, build, finance and maintain the new facility and plans to start construction remains on schedule for spring 2009.

The project will provide a sizeable boost to the regional and Ontario economies during construction by directly and indirectly supporting and creating approximately 5,400 jobs, many of which will be in the Niagara region. At the peak of construction activity, about 1,000 workers are expected on the site daily.

The state-of-the-art health care complex to be located at First Street and Fourth Avenue in St. Catharines will replace the aging St. Catharines General Site and Ontario Street Site (formerly the Hotel Dieu Hospital) and will provide new regional services never before available in Niagara, including treatments for cancer, heart disease and longer-term mental health disease.

The new facility will include:

  • The Walker Family Cancer Centre to provide close-to-home treatment for the more than 1,200 cancer patients who currently travel to Hamilton or Toronto for life-saving radiation treatment;
  • A new Regional Longer-Term Mental Health Centre with longer-term inpatient mental health beds, combined with acute inpatient mental health beds and ambulatory care services for Niagara residents;
  • A new Regional Cardiac Catheterization Centre to provide diagnostic investigation services, reducing hospitalizations for heart disease, lowering wait times and improving access to treatment;
  • 80 per cent single patient rooms, the most available in a community hospital in Ontario
  • Environmentally friendly design features resulting in LEEDs certification as part of the governments commitment to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions;
  • CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear) containment capability to deal with infectious outbreaks and disasters;
  • 80 per cent paperless system;
  • More windows to enhance natural light in patients rooms and public and staff areas;
  • State-of-the-art operating suites designed to take advantage of sophisticated image-guided and laparoscopic surgery; and
  • A patient focused site design with healing gardens, ponds and walking paths.

The community-based hospital of up to 375 beds will offer acute and critical inpatient services, surgical, emergency and ambulatory services available under one roof for the residents of St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara-on-the Lake and the area.

The Niagara Health System project will be delivered using an alternative financing and procurement model. Plenary Health Niagara will receive annual payments from Niagara Health System over a 30 year period. Payments cover construction, building maintenance, lifecycle repair and renewal and project financing. Lifecycle refers to ensuring that heating and cooling systems, windows, floors and roofing structures, for example, are kept in excellent working condition over the 30 year period. The payments are like a fixed-rate mortgage with maintenance and repair expenses included and will total approximately $1.42 billion after 30 years. In todays dollars this is equivalent to approximately $759 million.

Construction of the new facility is on schedule to begin May 2009 and will be completed by the end of 2012, which means the new health-care complex will open its doors to patients in 2013. Within the next few weeks, a construction crew will begin site preparation work, including building a fence around the site and temporary access roads. Groundbreaking will take place the afternoon of Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

Plenary Health Niagaras team includes Plenary Group, Borealis Infrastructure, PCL Constructors Canada Inc., Bregman + Hamann Architects, Silver Thomas Hanley Architects, and Johnson Controls. The long term financing for the NHS project was arranged by TD Securities Inc., RBC Capital Markets and BMO Capital Markets. Socis Gssale, TD Bank and Bank of Montreal provided construction financing for the project. Long-term financing is provided by the private placement market.

Infrastructure Ontario will post a copy of the Value for Money (VFM) report in the coming months and the project agreement will be posted online in the coming weeks.

Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will work with the Niagara Health System to build the new health-care complex, which will remain publicly owned, publicly controlled and publicly accountable.

Visit or here for more information.

For more information, please contact:

Amy Tang
Ministers Office
Energy and Infrastructure

Jessica Hooker
Infrastructure Ontario

Caroline Bourque Wiley
Consultant, Public Affairs
905-378-4647, ext. 43113

Niagara Health System