News release

Construction Projects To Receive More Scrutiny

Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald welcomed the findings and recommendations from the Auditor General today, May 18, which arose from government's request in March 2010 for an audit of the escalating costs of the Colchester Regional Hospital.

Under the previous government, the cost of the hospital price rose from an estimate of $104 million in 2005 to $160.2 million by 2010, when the current government was asked to approve an additional $24.4 million.

"I welcome Mr. Lapointe's recommendations and thank him for his thorough response to my request. The escalating costs of the Colchester Regional Hospital was a grave concern for me as Minister of Health," said Ms. MacDonald.
"These recommendations will now help the department be certain that every dollar we invest in construction is one that is needed and that we are accountable."

In his report, Auditor General Jacques Lapointe made 14 recommendations that Health and Wellness is acting on, including:

  • establishing a schedule to review the preliminary budget and approve the final project totals for future capital projects
  • preparing a comprehensive assessment by the department and Colchester East Hants Health Authority of funding needed to operate the new facility at its intended capacity and to agree on what level of funding will be provided
  • creating a process to ensure management for significant capital projects complete an adequate review and challenge of key estimates prepared by consultants
  • creating a process to ensure design decisions are made with consideration of the impact on costs for future projects

All 14 recommendations have been implemented or are underway, including:

  • A robust infrastructure management group of six engineers. Initially, during the Colchester project, there was one engineer.
  • The legal department is drafting a formal contract to include clear responsibilities and reporting requirements with the manager for the Colchester project.
  • A memorandum of understanding between the departments of Health and Wellness and Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is in the final stage so one organization with the necessary expertise will oversee major health infrastructure projects.
  • A process to ensure future construction projects have a formal agreement on how the size of the facility will be measured.
"I know the people in Colchester-East Hants are eager to have their new hospital open soon, and they can expect the very best care there," Ms. MacDonald said.

The project is now on budget and the 124-bed facility is scheduled to open next year.


Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald welcomed the recommendations from Auditor General Jacques Lapointe today (May 18th) after government asked him to audit the escalating replacement cost of the Colchester Regional Hospital.

The department is working on all 14 of the auditor general's recommendations.


Media Contact:

Sherri Aikenhead
Department of Health and Wellness 902-424-7942 E-mail: