The old site of Abbotsford’s MSA Hospital is set to be split up, with one portion used to build an expanded residential care facility and the other piece sold off.
Fraser Health CEO Michael Marchbank told The News last week that the province has been given the go-ahead to discuss the sale of a piece of the nine-acre McCallum Road site with local First Nations. That step is a requirement before a sale goes ahead.
After that step is done, Marchbank said the sale will help spark the redevelopment of several other residential care homes in Abbotsford, he said.
“It really is going to be important to allow us to redevelop Worthington [Pavilion] and redevelop Maplewood [Home] as well as Menno,” he said. “It’s really important for the community and residential care.”
Marchbank said the plan would see Fraser Health sell a portion of the property but keep a chunk for its own use.
“I have a level of optimist that we will see a resolution there.
“We’re optimistic that in a couple of months we will have a way forward so we can realize the potential of those lands in terms of selling them, so we can get on with redeveloping the residential care beds in Abbotsford.”
Such a project is several years in the making.
In 2014, Fraser Health issued a request for proposals (RFP) to redevelop that site. But that RFP – which envisioned a 200-bed residential care facility, community health centre, multi-family housing, and retail and park space – was later yanked after failing to generate any suitable proposals. Since then, Fraser Health has discussed partitioning the site.
As the British Columbia’s housing market has accelerated over the last five years, the value of the McCallum Road property has risen by more than $5 million. In 2014, the site was assessed at $12.6 million. This year, the land is valued at nearly $18 million.
Fraser Health is also working with the province on creating new acute care clinics promised by the NDP during last year’s election campaign.
Jim Sinclair said the facilities would “look slightly different, based on the community,” and would be directed at people who don’t have sufficient access to health care, including those without family physicians.
He said the clinics are still in the developmental stage, and that more information would be made public in coming months.