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Auditor: Hotel purchase for health care “highly unusual”

By Steve MacArthur Feb 13, 2024 | 11:56 AM

It’s being called a highly unusual transaction and the price tag keeps going up.

Auditor General Kim Adair is raising questions over the province’s decision to spend millions to buy an unfinished hotel to convert it to a patient care facility.

In total, the government spent $81 million in untendered contracts for two buildings that did not follow normal procedures.

Roughly $35 million was spent on the Hogan Court hotel and Adair believes the province failed to do its due diligence on the project, noting $15 million was approved in construction costs without detailed cost estimates.

“The process failed to include an adequate market assessment or a proper retrofit evaluation, and relied on an appraisal report which assumed the property was complete,” says Adair.

“We certainly acknowledge significant challenges and pressures on our healthcare system. However, addressing such challenges should not promote a culture where expediency takes precedence over appropriate due diligence and value for money,” she says.

The facilities are near Bedford and Bayer’s Lake and will serve a place for patients to stay when they no longer need hospital beds but are not ready to go home.

Her new report contains six recommendations which includes formal guidelines for approving the acquisition of land and existing buildings.