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An official of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority confirmed that negotiations with a preferred private partner are underway for the P3 Academic Ambulatory Care Centre. The official refused to name the preferred partner. Three bidders were short-listed in April 2003.

Critics are concerned with the secrecy surrounding the $90-million new Vancouver General Hospital outpatient clinic, which is scheduled to be completed in 2005. The project is slated to be the first of nine P3 projects completed by Partnership BC.

Meanwhile, bids have closed for another P3 project the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre with only one company submitting a proposal. Forensic accountants and activists have sounded the alarm, citing poor value for money given the absence of competition.

Reports show the estimated cost of this P3 hospital has skyrocketed 94 per cent to $1.4 billion. Yet Partnerships BC refuses to release financial details until the deal is signed.