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10/20: Cancer Centre for the North Moves Forward

PRINCE GEORGE – A preferred proponent has been selected to work with the BC Cancer Agency, Provincial Health Services Authority and the provincial government in negotiations as part of the next steps needed toward building a new regional cancer centre in Prince George.

The naming of Plenary Health Prince George GP (Plenary Health) as the preferred proponent follows an extensive evaluation of proposals from the three teams that were short-listed and invited to submit proposals to design, build, finance and maintain the cancer centre.

"This is an important milestone in the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North project," said Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. "All across the province we are making record investments in health-care facilities to improve access to quality patient care."

The next stage in the competitive selection process is to conclude negotiations with Plenary Health – a process that is expected to culminate in a project agreement by late winter. Details about the agreement and fixed project cost will be made public after the agreement has been finalized.

"Today we move one step closer toward delivering on our commitment to bring cancer care services closer to home for people living in northern B.C.," said Prince George-Valemount MLA and chair of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy Liaison Committee, Shirley Bond. "The BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North will be a world-class cancer centre that delivers exceptional cancer care and treatment. I am thrilled to see plans for this much-needed cancer centre moving forward, and look forward to completion of the cancer centre in 2012."

The Centre for the North is a critical component of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy, a partnership of the BC Cancer Agency, Northern Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority. The strategy is also focused on other capital developments, including:

  • BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North: two linear accelerators, used in the delivery of radiation therapy; one computerized-tomography (CT) simulator; a chemotherapy treatment unit; a pharmacy; general outpatient clinics; professional staff offices; and a parkade
  • Renovations to Prince George Regional Hospital to accommodate a new six-bed oncology unit; an expansion of pathology, laboratory and diagnostic imaging services; and additional support and office space
  • Enhancement of up to 11 Northern Health sites in communities outside of Prince George
  • The acquisition of new equipment and information technology, such as telehealth capability, at these sites to accommodate expansion of community cancer clinics

"Although we’re not in a position yet to reveal the final design of the cancer centre, I’m encouraged that the private partner has responded to our project objectives, and is using wood construction where practical," said Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Pat Bell.

"As part of our commitment to environmental sustainability and green buildings, the new cancer centre will be designed and built to achieve LEED Gold certification, helping to create a healthy and healing environment for patients and health-care professionals," said Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.

A fairness advisor, ADR Chambers Inc., was appointed to oversee and monitor the entire evaluation process to ensure that it was fair and followed the requirements outlined in the request for proposals. The report of the fairness advisor concluded: "We are of the view that the evaluation of the proposals met the criteria of fairness, openness, transparency and integrity." The fairness advisor’s report is publicly available on Partnerships BC’s website at www.partnershipsbc.ca.

"With the selection of the preferred proponent, we are excited to be moving forward with the contract negotiations for building the Centre for the North," said Brian Schmidt, interim president, BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the PHSA. "This new regional cancer centre will help to further enhance our mandate of providing a province wide cancer control program."

"The new BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North will be an important part of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy and showcases the ongoing commitment between the Provincial Health Services Authority, the BC Cancer Agency and Northern Health in providing Northern residents with closer to home treatment and support services," said Wynne Powell, Provincial Health Services Authority board chair.

"Together with our partners, we are focused on helping to improve cancer services throughout the North, and this new cancer centre will play a key role in care delivery for our region," said Dr. Charles Jago, Northern Health board chair. "Patients and their families will be able to benefit from increased access to better and more services."

"We are pleased to be a partner in the Northern Cancer Strategy," said Fraser-Fort George Regional Hospital District board chair Stephanie Killam, which is providing up to $4 million in additional capital towards the Northern Cancer Strategy. "Thousands of British Columbians and their families are affected by cancer and the new centre will improve access to cancer treatment and diagnosis."

Currently, the BC Cancer Agency operates regional centres located in Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford. When completed, the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North will become the sixth regional cancer centre in British Columbia.

The Province is making record investments in health-care facilities in northern B.C., including the Centre for the North and the $297.9 million Fort St. John Hospital and Residential Care project. Over the next three years, British Columbia’s health-care system will benefit from investments such as new medical equipment and modernized health facilities as part of a $2.9-billion health sector capital plan.

Media contacts:

Sonya Kruger 
Communications Specialist
BC Cancer Agency
604 908-8711

Bernadette Murphy
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health Services
250 952-1887 (media line)
250 213-9590 (cell)

Steve Raper
Director of Communications
Northern Health
250 565-2694

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SOURCE: 10/20: Cancer Centre for the North Moves Forward ( )
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