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College sells land for new hospital in Courtenay

The sale of land to the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) for the North Island Hospitals Project has been finalized, North Island College confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

North Island College received approval Feb. 15 from the Ministry of Advanced Education Innovation and Technology (AEIT), as required under the College and Institute Act, for the board of governors.

NIC’s president, Dr. Jan Lindsay, stated “During all of the discussions and negotiations that took place in relation to this project, the college maintained its position that the sale of land to VIHA must provide enhanced opportunity for future students living in the college region and help the college move forward in line with its vision of being a premier destination and community college that inspires and prepares students for success in a rapidly changing world.”

In speaking about the importance of the project for the future development of North Island College, Dr. Lindsay announced, “In addition to the approximately $4 million the college will receive for the sale of the almost 11.2 acres, North Island College negotiated a $2.75-million program development agreement. Combined, these funds will be available to the college to use for capital projects and the development of health technology programs that have the potential to make North Island College a provincial leader in rural and remote health care.”

The recently released Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC) Strategic Plan (www.asttbc.org/docs/2013launch.pdf) reports there are almost 150,000 people employed in technology occupations in B.C. and the fastest-growing technology occupation category for the period 2010 to 2020 is predicted to be medical technologists and technicians.

This projected 27-per-cent increase translates to an estimated total increase of 3,399 jobs in medical technologist and technician positions by 2020. In addition to the projected growth in health related technology positions, the BC Labour Market Report: 2010-2020 projects that one million job openings are expected in B.C. by 2020 and the health occupation group, which includes Nurses, Practical Nurses, Home Care and Activity Support Assistants, will have the largest percentage increase in growth.

The convergence of projected demand for medical technologists and technicians and other health care professionals, along with the growing retirement population in many Vancouver Island communities and the synergies of a college/hospital co-location, will offer tremendous opportunity for North Island College to develop leading edge health care and health technology programs.

Now that the sale is final, VIHA has sole responsibility for the property. Under the sales/purchase agreement, VIHA will shortly begin construction of a buffer between the two properties.

Having the buffer constructed three years in advance of the hospital being completed will protect the integrity of the college property and will allow the over 700 trees, shrubs and plants proposed for inclusion in the buffer considerable time to grow and mature.

In addition to the new trees, shrubs and plants, the plans for the buffer include retention of a number of the existing trees and a soil berm that will be at or above average head height so it will block visual sight lines between the college and the hospital for people walking on campus next to the berm.

This berm will also block the lights of cars arriving at the hospital from shining into buildings on the college campus and the transmission of surface noise between the college and the hospital.

For further information on the sale, visit www.nic.bc.ca.

— North Island College

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