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HomeBusinessFraser Health charged less than $13,000 for CBC police drama’s shoot at White Rock hospital

Fraser Health charged less than $13,000 for CBC police drama’s shoot at White Rock hospital

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Bob Mackin

Fraser Health Authority invoiced a contractor less than $13,000 for arranging the production of a CBC TV police drama at Peace Arch Hospital last December.

Hospital scene from CBC’s Allegiance (CBC)

The invoice, released under the freedom of information law, showed a $5,000 charge for one day of interior shooting and $3,000 each for exterior shooting, preparation and wrap days. A 15% fee for contractor Location Fixer ($2,100) was subtracted. With GST, the total cost was $12,495. 

“That is not a lot,” said Elenore Sturko, the South Surrey BC United MLA who shot an Instagram video critical of the NDP government outside the hospital during the three-day production last December. 

Sturko pointed to shortages of doctors and nurses, lengthy emergency department wait times at Surrey Memorial and Peace Arch hospitals and patients being treated in hallways.

Last week, Fraser Health released the contract with Scott Road Productions (S1) Inc., the company behind CBC’s Allegiance. The original FOI application was filed before Christmas, but Fraser Health delayed disclosure until May 3.

In a prepared statement,  the Ministry of Health said: “No report was commissioned to review the use of the Peace Arch Hospital for filming. That is because Fraser Health Authority’s decision to allow filming was made with careful consideration for patient care, operational needs and the overall benefit to health care services.”

Fraser Health granted Scott Road Productions “temporary licence to use and occupy one or more” locations for the filming of Allegiance. Specifically, the fifth floor, formerly the Acute Care for the Elderly Unit, the hospital exterior and parking and loading areas, for a maximum 12 hours on Dec. 14, 15 hours on Dec. 15 and 12 hours on Dec. 18. 

Fraser Health allowed the producer to photograph, record and depict any location, except not to capture, use or reproduce actual names, logos, trademarks, official marks, signs or other identifying features of the hospital or health authority. Scott Road Productions was required to avoid capturing any personal information or identifying features of anyone from the health authority, its clients and patients. Fraser Health had the right under the contract to review, upon request, a rough cut to ensure the producer was compliant with the terms and conditions. 

From left: Allegiance star Supinder Wraich, CBC president Catherine Tait and NDP minister Lana Popham (Tait/LinkedIn)

The producer agreed to keep locations safe, clean and in sanitary condition, abide by any of the health authority’s rules and restore and leave each location as it was at the time the producer first entered.

Fraser Health warned the producer that the hospital “is not seismically upgraded to current building codes and the producer covenants and agrees to accept all risks associated with seismic events in its use of the location.”

It also banned certain types of scenes from being produced on-site. 

“[The producer will] not film scenes involving sex or nudity on any health authority site or facility, nor any scenes that negatively depict mental health issues or religion,” the contract said. 

Fraser Health said in December that no beds were closed and the hospital remained open while film crews used an area earmarked for renovations. 

“I understand that some of these spaces were waiting for upgrades,” Sturko said. “But we need to ensure that those upgrades that are expedited so that we’re not waiting, and that we can be using all hospitals, spaces and facilities for their intended use, which is for healthcare.”

In December, Gibsons-based Location Fixer’s website listed Peace Arch, Chilliwack, Ridge Meadows, Delta and Vancouver General’s Heather Pavilion on its website. However, the website’s health and education location page now includes only the VGH Simulation Centre training facility available after hours and on weekends. 

It was not the first controversy involving a film production at a busy hospital.

BC United’s Elenore Sturko outside Peace Arch Hospital (Sturko/IG)

When the NDP was in opposition, it complained about the early 2017 rental of Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody for 10 days to TCF Vancouver Productions Ltd. The company was shooting “The Mountain Between Us,” starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet. 

Documents released under FOI showed that TCF incurred a $27,333.71 charge, but received an $8,488.58 discount. Shared Services B.C., an arm of the Ministry of Technology and Citizens Services, picked up the miscellaneous fees and film liaison fees.

Allegiance, created by Anar Ali, premiered Feb. 7 and stars Supinder Wraich as Sabrina Sohal, a rookie officer with the fictitious Canadian Federal Police Corps “who must grapple with the limits of the justice system as she fights to exonerate her politician father Ajeet Sohal (played by Stephen Lobo).”

“Allegiance is the story of a young woman caught between her allegiance to her flag, to her badge, and to her family,” says the CBC publicity material. 

The March 20-aired seventh episode, The Legacy, features interior hospital scenes. But the exterior shows Surrey Memorial Hospital. 

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