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NHS Health Care Complex and Walker Family Cancer Centre

ProjectNHS Health Care Complex and Walker Family Cancer Centre
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Plenary Americas

This 970,000 square-foot, 5-storey acute care community hospital replaced two aging facilities in the Niagara region and accommodates 374 acute care beds, and associated outpatient and support services. It provides a comprehensive range of clinical services including:

  • a Cancer Centre that serves 1,200 patients close to home, relieving them from the stress of travelling to Hamilton or Toronto for treatments
  • a longer term Mental Health service that includes 53 beds
  • dialysis services; and
  • Cardiac Catheterization services which provides diagnostic investigation, reduces hospitalizations for heart disease and provides faster local care for residents of the Niagara region.

Project facts


Niagara, Ontario, Canada


Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care / Niagara Health System

Value (NPV)

C$759 million

Our role

Project sponsor

Equity investor

Financial arranger


PCL Constructors Canada Inc.


Bregman + Hamann / Silver Thomas Hanley


Johnson Controls

Financial close date

March 2009

Completion date

November 2012

Contract terms

Design, build, finance and maintain for 33.5 years


  • Top 100 Projects, 2010-2012 ReNew Canada
  • Silver Project Finance Award, 2009 CCPPP
  • LEED® Gold Certified

Plenary Health was also responsible for leading the procurement process for the new medical equipment for the facility. Substantial Completion was achieved in November 2012 and Patient Care began in the Spring of 2013.

This project received the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships’ Award of Merit for Project Financing.

Exterior entrance to the NHS Health Care Complex and Walker Family Cancer Centre

Design features

Green design elements

The facility has achieved LEED® Silver certification from the Canada Green Building Council and is the first hopsital to do so in the Niagara region. Environmental features include energy efficient lighting, cooling and heating, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions as well as operating costs of the facility. The landscape also incorporates natural design features such as a walking path, gardens and pond in order to promote healing.

User-focused design

Plenary Health led an extensive design development process with NHS clinical staff, as well as related health agencies, to incorporate their input into the final design.

The end result is a hospital which is designed around users and seeks to make the hospital experience as comfortable as possible.

The design maximizes windows and natural light to make the spaces more airy for patients and staff. The facility also includes an innovative design approach for the Cancer Centre. It helps patients feel less isolated by using lead block construction and special hallway configurations to eliminate the need to physically seal the radiation suites.


This was the first true DBFM AFP hospital under the Infrastructure Ontario AFP model and the design process was therefore, relatively uncharted. Plenary helped develop a process which generated dialogue on what the hospital really wanted, without threatening the fairness of the procurement process. The solution was to engage the senior user team members and present issues clearly to the hospital and the PDC team, and this standard is now being used on all IO DBFM projects.

The outcome of this process was a design which exceeded the expectations of the client, and provided a more efficient footprint that will reduce walking distances (and therefore ineffective time) for the staff who will work in the facility.

Plenary was faced with reaching Financial Close on this project in the period immediately following the global financial crisis of 2008, at which time, the committed financing package the team had developed during the RFP period fell away. The team worked tirelessly for six months with the Sponsors to provide a financing solution for the project. Due to the sophistication of the Plenary team, the strength of the relationship with NHS and also with lenders, Plenary delivered a fully committed financing solution that remained within the parameters of its initial proposal, and the project reached Financial Close in March 2009.

Local economic impacts

Job creation

Through the construction period, Plenary Health generated over 2,500 jobs. That translates to over one million worker hours of construction activity. At the peak of construction, over 700 workers were at the site daily. Over 85% of the trades were performed by local subcontractors.

Plenary Group is proud to support our communities by partnering with local trades. Together, we deliver the highest quality infrastructure and ensure that the Niagara region can depend on a local, safe and functional hospital for decades to come.


Plenary Group contributes fundraising activities and corporate donations to the Niagara Health System Foundation in support of the hospital’s local share.

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