Project renderings for a new facility that could replace St. Paul’s Hospital are being passed around Vancouver social media circles.
The drawings appeared in previous annual reports published by Providence Health Care, the regional health authority that operates St. Paul’s. They are described in those documents as ideas that could comprise part of “a ‘two site solution’ to rebuild St. Paul's.”
The plans resurfaced shortly after the MLA representing Vancouver-West End, the riding that serves as a home for the existing St. Paul’s Hospital, made public rumours the B.C. Liberal government is preparing to demolish the old hospital to make way for condo towers.
“I’m getting it from business people, from real-estate people, from health-care people, from enough sources within and outside of government that I’m taking it seriously,” Spencer Chandra Herbert told the Straight on April 2.
“I’ve heard rumours before and I’ve been able to discount them because, well, we’ve made the government stand and promise to deliver on site,” he continued. “The fact that they have not delivered on site and now won’t commit to a timeline to deliver a renewed St. Paul’s Hospital and now we’re hearing this—that’s what has me so concerned. It seems that they’ve been backing away from their promise.”
According to Chandra Herbert, a new hospital that would replace St. Paul’s could be constructed at False Creek, just east of Olympic Village. An October 2005 press release issued by the Hospital Employees' Union supports that claim. It states the Vancouver Esperanza Society purchased a parcel of land adjacent to Station Street "for the redevelopment of St. Paul’s Hospital".
At Farrow’s website, the drawings are described as a “comprehensive site master plan” for "St. Paul's Hospital Legacy Project".
"The Legacy Project is an initiative launched by Providence Health Care to better meet the needs of their acute care patients," it's stated there. "The project will include the design of a new acute care facility to replace the existing St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver."
Following Chandra Herbert’s call, the Ministry of Health refused to grant the Straight an interview but shortly after issued a public statement.
“Government remains firmly committed to revitalizing St. Paul’s Hospital,” it reads. “St. Paul’s Hospital is an important part of the network of hospitals in the Lower Mainland, serving a large and growing population from downtown Vancouver, and from across the region. We are continuing to work with Providence Healthcare on the best way to revitalize the hospital for the communities it serves. We must make sure that this fits within the future long term vision of health care in the region and across the province, focusing on more comprehensive community services and a partnership between Lower Mainland hospitals.”