There could be a new BC Children’s Hospital facility in East Vancouver, replacing an existing facility on a site that has seen healthcare-related uses for over a century.
Provincial Health Services Authority has submitted a rezoning application to demolish the former Sunny Hill Health Centre building at 3580-3644 Slocan Street, and redevelop the site into a new purpose-built complex-care transition facility to support children and youth.
The proposal, designed by local architectural firm Dialog, calls for a new five-storey, 114,000-sq-ft complex-care building at the northeast corner of the intersection of Slocan Street and East 21st Avenue.
This new main building on the site will accommodate youth up to 19 years of age with a complex range of medical, emotional, and behavioural challenges.
This will be a new, first-of-its-kind centre in Canada for children living with health complexity, including a multi-disciplinary team with a single point of contact, assistance for families, training families, caregivers, and community care providers to support their child within their home community, and leveraging research and innovation to improve the quality of life for children with health complexity and their families.
“It is very important that spaces within the facility and outdoor surroundings exude a welcoming, safe, and calm environment. It is also critical that the design of the spaces be culturally sensitive and safe for Indigenous children/youth, their families, and caregivers,” reads the application.
“Incorporation of strategically placed exterior courtyard spaces will help children and youth have a sense of closer connection to nature and enable them to enjoy the sights and sounds of the outdoors.”
The Sunny Hill services were relocated to BC Children’s Hospital’s main hub on Oak Street in August 2020, allowing for the provincial government to pursue new uses for the Slocan Street site.
At the northwest corner of the 6.7-acre site, infill development on open green space will create a separate, standalone, single-storey building with a childcare facility for up to 74 kids. There would be 11,900 sq ft of indoor childcare space, plus two expansive outdoor playing areas for two different age groups.
Only the Sunny Hill building will be demolished. The existing Annex and Hartman buildings will remain on-site, but will not be operational during demolition and construction. The Children’s Hearing and Speech Centre of BC at the northeast corner of the site will remain operational during demolition and construction.
With the construction of the new complex-care and childcare buildings, the site’s total building floor area will grow from 114,000 sq ft today to 151,200 sq ft in the future.
A total of 133 vehicle parking stalls, mostly underground, are proposed. The redevelopment would retain and protect most of the site’s existing trees throughout construction, and new and improved open green spaces will be made.
The site was used as an isolation hospital over century ago. In 1931, the Vancouver Preventorium for Children with Tuberculosis opened on the site and operated until the 1950s, when it became the pediatric chronic care facility. The site underwent numerous other uses before becoming the Sunny Hill Health Centre for providing children with rehabilitation care and developmental assessments.