Documents obtained by the NDP through Freedom of Information show that concerns about the roof at the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford began at the design phase. In response, the NDP called for the Sask. Party to ensure the facilities audit ordered last October responds to serious failures in the decision-making process between the SHA and SaskBuilds.
“What these documents show is a government putting politics before people, bulldozing their way to a big ribbon-cutting with no concern for the wellbeing of patients or staff,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “How did the Minister of Health let people down so badly, and what is he doing now to ensure future infrastructure projects aren’t falling apart before they even open?”
On March 13, 2019, a SaskBuilds official indicated that fresh problems with the roof reflected long-standing SHA concerns that had been disregarded: “With the spring thaw, some major issues with the roof at SHNB have come to the forefront. The roof was a serious bone of contention during design and construction, and unfortunately, the Authority’s concerns were well-founded.”
The same day, the Executive Director of Infrastructure Management at the SHA found a silver lining in the fact that the 20-plus identified leaks that were causing havoc for residents and patients at least hadn’t hurt the political optics surrounding the hospital’s opening: “We are fortunate this didn’t occur last week before the grand opening,” the Director wrote.
As reported today, the materials in the roof that required replacing closely resembled and were manufactured by the same company that had produced the faulty cladding. The roof issue was so similar to the previous problems with the exterior cladding that SaskBuilds communications officials were able to recycle the “old strategy and messaging from the building exterior issue last year.”
“Too many projects like this are being built by out-of-province and out-of-country companies that it seems are only here to make a buck,” said NDP Health critic Vicki Mowat. “We need to be building major infrastructure with Saskatchewan companies, Saskatchewan materials and Saskatchewan workers.”