Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s emergency room is slated for expansion. File photo

UPDATE: New Abbotsford ER expansion expected to welcome patients in October 2020

Deadline for construction proposals closes, but construction timeline unknown

Since a version of this story was published last week, Fraser Health has clarified that construction is expected begin sometime this year.

The expansion to the emergency room at Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) will proceed, Fraser Health says. Officials say work is expected to begin later this year, with occupancy for the new ER area expected by October 2020. The project is expected to be completed by spring of 2021.

The $15 million expansion was announced in 2017, shortly before the provincial election that saw the BC Liberals lose power. Construction was originally slated to start in 2018, but that was pushed back until this year to accommodate a reorganization so that hospital officials could more quickly improve the chronically crowded ER.

Those changes saw a new mental-health and substance-use reception area shifted in order to hopefully free up more space for emergency care.

But the expansion is still in the works. Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma said a request for proposals (RFP) was issued this year and recently closed. The RFP was not publicly posted. In a process managed by the Public Private Partnership (P3), bidding was only opened to a “pre-qualified list of general contractors,” Juma said. Contractors attended a “bidders” briefing, after which proposals could be submitted.

It’s not clear yet when the bid will be awarded and when exactly construction could begin. But Juma said occupancy for the new area is slated for October 2020.

RELATED: ARH emergency department to get $15 million expansion

RELATED: Abbotsford hospital ER expansion pushed back to 2019

When it was announced in April 2017, the project was slated to include 7,200 square feet of additional floor space for the ER, along with relocated ambulance bays, a nursing substation, and dedicated stretcher bays.

It was also slated to include a mental- health and substance- use area – although that has already been created.

The expansion was six months in the making, MLA Mike de Jong said at the time. But it came just a month after the province’s health minister said there had been no plans for an expansion. The 2017 announcement came after officials resurrected a previous expansion plan following media coverage of trouble at Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s emergency room.

Persistent congestion at ARH remains, although it is unclear whether a larger emergency room will fully alleviate those issues.

Last March, The News reported that ARH had been operating over capacity for years, leaving dozens of patients to be cared for in hallways and other unfunded areas.

That space crunch leads to congestion in the emergency room, where admitted patients have waited up to a week for space to be found for them in acute care wards.

Despite repeated requests, The News has not yet obtained provincial occupancy data for the most recent year. But the most recent report card for Abbotsford Regional Hospital shows that two-thirds of admitted patients still have to wait longer than 10 hours for an acute care bed. After years of improvement, it’s also taking longer to discharge patients who are awaiting care to be set up in the community.


@ty_olsen
Do you have more information? Email: tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff at Lowe’s Canada stores contributed more than $2.1 million to charities across the nation through their Heroes Campaign. In Abbotsford and Mission, three charities received a total of more than $25,000. (Submitted photo)
Lowe’s Canada donates more than $25K to 3 local charities

Funds will support non-profits in Abbotsford and Mission

A woman holds a packet of contraceptive pills. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Chilliwack women’s organization among those lobbying for free contraception

Ann Davis Society says while it’s a women’s issue, all of society would benefit from program

Stock photo
Pair’s lawsuit dismissed against Fraser Valley soccer association and churches

Judge in Abbotsford calls claims against 14 defendants ‘an abuse of the court’s process’

RBSS students decorate a parking stall at the school as part of the Paint the Parking Lot project. (Facebook)
2021 Robert Bateman grads ‘Paint the Parking Lot’

RBSS students decorate Abbotsford school’s parking lot for a good cause

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

IHIT has been called to a home on Nelson Court in Maple Ridge. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
Homicide team investigating at Maple Ridge home

Investigators were called to home on Nelson Court

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Most Read