Cornwall Regional chimney not a priority at this time - WRHA
Dr Ken-Garfield Douglas, the regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), said the old chimney, which was part of the Cornwall Regional Hospital's (CRH) problematic ventilation system, has been assessed but is not a major priority in the hospital's restoration work.
Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday, Douglas explained that the chimney was built to facilitate the burning of waste material and for ventilation of the boiler room's hot air at the Mount Salem, St James-based health facility.
According to Douglas, the hospital has not burnt any waste material in almost a decade, which takes the chimney off the priority list.
"The chimney was built with the hospital, and at that time, part of its function was to burn waste material, but we have discontinued that practice for eight years now," he said. "The chimney is not one of the things on our radar as priority."
The WRHA director further stated that the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which is overseeing the ongoing restoration work at the 400-bed facility, will prepare a proposal on how to specifically address the chimney.
"Part of the assessment that was done included deciding on a modern way of venting the hot air from the boiler room. UNOPS is putting together a proposal in terms of solutions for that, and while the chimney is not on the immediate priority list, it is to be addressed," said Douglas.
The chimney was pinpointed as the source of noxious fumes at the CRH in June, five months after an initial outbreak of fumes from the ventilation system resulted in the relocation of services from the hospital's first three floors in January.
To date, the CRH's radiotherapy unit has been restored for treatment of cancer patients, while the radiology department and fifth-floor operating theatres are slated for completion by December.