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New Cowichan hospital reaches construction milestone

Community gathers to sign last steel girder in section of facility

The Cowichan community gathered at the construction site of the new approximately $1.5-billion hospital on May 23 to celebrate a major milestone in its building process.

Hundreds of workers at the site on Bell McKinnon Road, members of organizations involved in the project and politicians that have spent years advocating for the trail-blazing hospital to replace the aging 67-year Cowichan District Hospital on Gibbins Road, signed the last steel girder that was to be installed at the top of the new facility’s diagnostic and treatment centre.

The centre will house outpatient and diagnostic-care services, including an emergency department, medical imaging, ambulatory care, a pharmacy and cafeteria and will be linked to an inpatient tower through a community hall.


Following structural completion of the centre, work will continue on its interior, while structural work continues on the seven-storey inpatient tower and service centre.

Construction of the 204-bed hospital is on track for completion in 2026, and is expected to be ready for patients in 2027.

B.C.’s Health Minister Adrian Dix, who was master of ceremonies at the event that featured numerous speakers and a performance by Cowichan’s Tribes’ Tzinquaw Dancers, said improved access to health care for people in the Cowichan region is on the horizon.

“The Cowichan community believed in this project before the province did, and they made it happen,” he said.

“The old hospital has served us well, but we needed a new hospital in Cowichan 15 years ago and now we’re getting one. This project reflects our government’s commitment to strengthening health services across the province and will provide people in Cowichan greater access to the care they need in a state-of-the-art hospital that will serve the region for generations to come.”

The new hospital will be 56,448 square metres, more than three times larger than the current facility, and the number of spaces in the emergency department will increase from 17 in the current hospital to 36.


This includes two trauma bays, fast-track streaming, monitored care and a dedicated acute psychiatric zone.

There will be seven operating rooms, an increase of three, with one dedicated to C-sections, as well as increased CT scanning capacity and built-in magnetic resonance imaging.

In addition, there are nine surgical-procedure rooms, an increase of six rooms from the current hospital.

Cowichan Tribes Chief Cindy Daniels said the signing of the last steel girder that was to be installed in the hospital’s diagnostic and treatment centre is a wonderful way to show each person’s contribution to a project that is so important to the community.

She said with Cowichan’s population growing rapidly, the need for the new hospital is immense.

“I raise my hands to the crews that have gotten the Cowichan District Hospital Replacement Project to this construction milestone,” Daniels said.

“Huy tseep q’u (thank you) for your hard yaays (work).”

David Robertson, chair of the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation, said the foundation is inspired by the amazing work being done to make Cowichan’s new hospital a reality.

“The foundation is proud to support this project, ensuring that patients and staff have access to the best possible medical equipment that will help facilitate the highest level of health services and care for our community,” he said.

“Congratulations to all involved in this monumental project.”

Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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