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Seniors’ care centre proposed for MSA Hospital site

Peter Goldthorpe - File photo
Peter Goldthorpe
— image credit: File photo

Fraser Health Authority (FHA) is moving forward with plans to build a campus of care for seniors and a community health centre on the former MSA Hospital site on McCallum Road.

FHA representatives presented the proposal to the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District (FVRHD) Tuesday, emphasizing the need for a campus of care for seniors in Abbotsford.

Peter Goldthorpe, Fraser Health’s vice president of Lower Mainland facilities management, cited the fact that the existing Cottage and Worthington Pavilions for seniors that are located on the site do not meet current complex care standards, and have infrastructure deficiencies and issues with pests.

The project goal would be to replace the 119 non-compliant residential care beds at Cottage and Worthington with a new 200-bed complex care facility that would meet or exceed current guidelines and capacity. It would also support the redevelopment of Menno Place by transferring 81 beds from that facility to the new complex care unit.

FVRHD approved in principle the provision of 40 per cent of the projected $35.2-million capital cost ($14.08 million) for the seniors’ complex, and Fraser Health, which would own and operate the facility, will contribute 60 per cent ($21.12 million).

Fraser Health’s plans for the site also include a 57,000-sq.ft. community health centre, which would centralize existing services. Currently the programs are spread over 10 different leased sites in Abbotsford – facilities that are undersized and do not support current models of care.

Chuck Stam, director of the FVRHD, said the new Mission Community Health Care Centre is an example of centralizing services to simplify access to health care and deliver them collaboratively.

“That’s a model that is new to Fraser Health and it’s a model that they would like to deliver in Abbotsford.”

Mission’s building is the first of its kind in the Fraser Health Authority, and is located adjacent to the Mission Memorial Hospital.

The new health facilities would cover only a portion of the land and the proposal calls for the possibility of creating a high-density “urban village” with multi-family housing, social housing, retail and other amenities, as well as an urban park on 1.1 acres of existing treed land.

If the project does not proceed and the site remains vacant, Fraser Health must sell the land by March 15, 2015, due to a provincial initiative to release assets of health authorities if they are not being used.

In addition to Fraser Health’s plans for a community health centre and seniors’ complex, the former MSA Hospital site was also the proposed location of a YMCA project.

The controversial project, which would have seen $17.5 million in city funds contributed to its construction, was greeted with strong opposition from some community members.

The project was indefinitely deferred in April of last year, with any potential YMCA proposal subject to a whole new project plan. The current plan for the MSA Hospital site has no inclusion of a YMCA.

With FVRHD approval for funding, Fraser Health will now issue a request for proposals for the seniors’ complex.

The schedule calls for the project to go through the rezoning process with the city of Abbotsford in January 2016, and for construction to begin in September 2016.

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