Hospital site getting good reviews

The announcement that the new Comox Valley hospital will be built within the Crown Isle development is being greeted favourably by a number of business leaders.

The site for the new 150- to 160-bed Comox Valley hospital will be on Crown Isle lands north of Ryan Road.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) has agreed to purchase a 15-acre site from Silver Sand Land Corp. — Crown Isle — with an option for an additional five acres.

The finalization of the sale is awaiting funding approval from the provincial government.

“With this announcement, this truly moves Crown Isle forward as one of Western Canada’s premier communities,” Ron Coulson, one of the development’s two owners, said in a press release. “Many developments show great vision and promise; ours has now become a reality. The Comox Valley hospital, combined with Costco and additional commercial developments, plus new residential subdivisions, could very well bring over $750 million in new construction within Crown Isle over the next few years.”

The economic spinoff will benefit the entire Comox Valley by providing an opportunity for businesses and for people to live, shop, ski, fish, fly and play golf — all within a few minutes from their homes, noted Coulson.

Jason Andrew, Crown Isle’s director of real estate, believes the new hospital will bring “tremendous awareness” to Crown Isle and the rest of the Valley.

The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce believes the site on Ryan Road will be a cornerstone in the future viability of the Comox Valley, providing the link between education, jobs and health care.

“We are very pleased with the location that VIHA has chosen for the new Comox Valley hospital,” Chamber president Jeff Lucas said in a press release. “The opportunities to create connections within the community and particularly with North Island College (NIC) mean a major boost to the local economy.

“Local businesses of all kinds will benefit from the influx of medical professionals and students who will seek out this hospital as a place to learn while the community continues to receive top-notch medical care all within a state-of-the-art facility.”

The Chamber of Commerce feels the proximity to NIC is key, as the new hospital will become a teaching hospital for health care students at NIC.

Locating the site in Courtenay does not have any direct tax benefits for Courtenay, as hospitals don’t pay taxes, but Mayor Greg Phelps of Courtenay feels there could be many spinoff benefits for the entire Valley.

“It’s no net loss for Comox and no net gain for Courtenay,” he said.

“However, it is a proven fact that people like to be close to the hospital. When the bigger hospital is built, we hope to attract more specialists. They’ll either move to Courtenay, Comox or Cumberland, so the whole Valley benefits.”

Phelps has heard mostly positive feedback about the site location.

“Certainly, there are concerns to address about traffic issues, but I’m really glad to say almost everybody has taken the big picture that it’s good,” he said.

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