Construction on the new Rainy River hospital could begin in a few weeks, with the Ministry of Health authorizing Riverside Health Care Facilities Inc. here to sign a contract.
Riverside chairman Pat Giles said they received the go-ahead notice from the ministry on Friday, just nine days after the tenders were submitted to the government for approval.
The ministry’s memo also confirmed the $5.2 million from the province to go towards the $6.24 million needed for the project.
“Once [the ministry] gets the proof of contract, they’ll advance part of the money,” Giles said, as well as a payment plan for the rest of the project.
“Hopefully the contractor will be on site in the next week or so,” he added.
Penn Co. of Steinbach, Man. is expected to be hired to build the hospital, which Giles said would take about 44 weeks to complete.
“We’re still trying to open for April 1 next year,” he said, which gives Riverside about a three-week cushion before construction has to begin.
The signing of the contract makes it almost impossible for any more stays on the long-awaited project, which already has been delayed and put off several times.
For Giles, a resident of Rainy River, this comes with a lot of personal satisfaction and relief.
“I would say it feels kind of exciting to reach this point after many moments of frustration," he said. "Some things do really happen.”