By Gagan Batra
It was a bright, sunny day last Tuesday, August 28th; one perfect for demolition. The Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, located in downtownBrampton had been scheduled to be taken down to make space for a brand new hospital. Although the building was old, it put up quite a fight against the heavy machinery designed to bring it down. Like the well known saying states, “out with the old and in with the new”, the demolition of this hospital may be a long and ongoing process, but it is necessary.
As a city with one of the largest growing populations in all ofCanada,Bramptonis experiencing a lot of change in terms of its infrastructure. Not only are there new housing developments being built on a regular basis, but there are new strip plazas, community centres, and religious buildings coming along as well. One major change that must be made to accompany population growth such as this is in the area of healthcare.
ThePeelMemorialHospitalhas been up and running since the 1920’s and has been a part of the William Osler family since 1988. After its long reign as a major hospital in the city ofBrampton, Peel Memorial will be taken down and reconstructed as part of the William Osler Health System. The reconstruction that is scheduled to take place is the second major hospital project inBramptonin the last ten years. In 2007,BramptonCivicHospital, also part of the William Osler Health System, had opened for patients. While theBramptonCivicHospitalinitially took the place of Peel Memorial when its services were discontinued, the plan is for the new hospital to function alongside Brampton Civic.
While on site during one of the days of demolition, those involved in reconstructing the new hospital responded to some questions with the answers summarized below.
Will demolition be safe for the neighbourhood and environment?
Ann Ford, Vice President of Development and Support Services, assured those present that there would be no harmful chemicals released into the atmosphere. Ford explained that before the demolition of the hospital could begin, everything from inside the building was removed, including anything that could have potentially been harmful. The process has been ongoing since January this year and Ford ensures that most of the time has been spent on cleaning the buildings out and preventing any chance for the procedure being unsafe. Not only did Ford ensure that everything would be safe, she added that the demolition would be environmentally friendly as 95 percent of everything on site is recyclable.
Were there any problems that you had run into in planning for demolition?
There were no problems that have been encountered thus far in the demolition. Ford states that “It has all been smooth sailing.”
Is reconstruction on time and on budget?
Ford explained that the site work is not scheduled to begin until next year. The date of reconstruction is unknown as of right now. As for whether or not it is on time, Ford highlighted that the demolition process has been taking place since January of this year and will probably go on through September. After the buildings are taken down, there will be cleanup taking place on the site and it will have to be prepared for the building of the new hospital. Ford stated that in terms of the estimated date of completion, “We will likely be finished reconstruction and opening in 2015 or 2016.” Ford ensures that with what they’ve been given, they are on time and on budget with this project.
How will this site differ from the old Peel Memorial Centre?
Ken Mayhew, President and CEO of the William Osler Health System Foundation, was very clear with the prospects for the new hospital. The new site will be “more of an ambulatory clinic”, according to Mayhew. The main difference between Brampton Civic and Peel Memorial is that the former offers both inpatient and outpatient services while the latter will specialize in outpatient care. The redeveloped hospital will have more of a health and wellness component than it previously did.
The new Peel Memorial will be the first model for an ambulatory hospital inOntario; it will be a leader in that respect. The idea is that people will come to the new site if they need urgent treatment. If they require ongoing care, patients will be sent to Brampton Civic where they will be provided with hospital beds and longer treatments if necessary.
Mayhew explains that there are two phases to the new hospital system. Phase one involves providing more access to services such as doctor’s offices, clinics, and urgent care. Phase two follows the first phase by offering hospital beds, continuing care, and rehabilitation. Not only will the newPeelMemorialHospitalbe a centre for medical treatment, it will hold educational areas offering patients information on how to better care for themselves.
Upon visiting the site, it becomes clear that the demolition of the old hospital and the reconstruction of the new one are in very trusting hands. With all of the time and planning put into just the demolition aspect of the hospital, it will definitely be something of a wonder when it is finally complete and open to the public.