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Citing better location, RVH passes on 2009 land donation to build new south campus

Expanding current hospital on Georgian Drive in Barrie and development of new south campus in Innisfil estimated to cost $2.5 billion
2019-04-18 RVH plans RB 5
Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre president and CEO Janice Skot. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday files

Thanks, but no thanks.

By building its south campus on property at Innisfil Beach Road and Yonge Street, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) will forfeit a gift of land made 12 years ago.

In 2009, Cortel Group developers Mario Cortellucci and David Braley offered RVH the agricultural land along the 6th Line of Innisfil, between Highway 400 and Yonge Street.

“While we’re grateful for the 2009 donation from the Cortel Group, which was dependent on building a hospital on the site within 25 years, it’s important to note the cost of land… represents a very tiny fraction of the cost to construct, maintain and operate a hospital over time,” said RVH president and CEO Janice Skot during an hour-long online community presentation Monday night.

Operating costs of the current facility in north-end Barrie alone exceed $1 million every day, she said.

“The operational costs of a hospital over 50 years are up to 200 times more than the land-acquisition costs,” said Skot. “RVH’s most important consideration during a search was that we choose the right location.”

Potential sites within a 225-square-kilometre search area in Innisfil and south-end Barrie were examined and analyzed by technical experts. They concluded the best location to be the chosen 83 acres at Innisfil Beach Road and Yonge Street, just outside the village of Stroud.

Skot cited the convenience of being across the road from the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre, where RVH currently operates a variety of outpatient clinics. The chosen site is also adjacent to the Innisfil civic campus and the town's recreation centre.

The most important goal of the project, she said, was to find just the right spot that could service the existing residents of the community and the many more who expect to call Innisfil home in the future.

There are plans currently underway to expand both Innisfil Beach Road and Yonge Street to four lanes.

The deal with the donated land was to build a hospital within 25 years or it would revert back to its original owners. Since RVH won’t be doing that, Skot expects RVH will forfeit the opportunity to own the land and its ownership will lapse back into the hands of the developers.

The Cortel Group did not respond to a request for comment from BarrieToday.

The RVH plan is to expand the existing facility on Georgian Drive in Barrie  which it calls the north campus  over 10 years and develop its new south campus in Innisfil to meet local demands and ongoing population growth.

The total cost of expanding the current facility on Georgian Drive and the development of the south campus in Innisfil is estimated to cost roughly $2.5 billion.

Skot stressed they will be interdependent and services will not be duplicated.