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Hospitals not listed in budget for good reason — Comox Valley MLA

North Island MLA Claire Trevena expressed concerns over the new hospitals' timeline late last week, but Comox Valley MLA Don McRae disagrees.

Trevena said that the North Island Hospitals Project — a new hospital in the Comox Valley, and one in Campbell River — was not itemized on the Capital Expenditures Projects Greater Than $50-million table of the provincial budget announced last week.

"There are a number of other major capital budgets in the health-care sector that are a line item in the budget and there's nothing relating to our hospitals," said Trevena.

However, McRae said that's because the new hospitals have not been announced yet, pointing out that the projects listed on the table have been announced.

"Our hospital hasn't been announced publicly yet and so it won't be on the list," said McRae.

"I've talked to VIHA (Vancouver Island Health Authority). They think the process is moving along in a timely manner; they don't see any worries."

Trevena said she plans to ask the health minister detailed questions about funding for the hospitals soon because the provincial budget is "tight" and she has concerns about where the money will come from.

"I can't see where Health is going to be finding that sort of money," said Trevena.

McRae said he had lunch with VIHA board chair Don Hubbard late last week, and that Hubbard would have mentioned something to him if there were an issue with government funding for the hospitals.

He said he expects the project to move forward sooner rather than later.

"I think it's going to happen within this year," said McRae.

VIHA submitted the business case for the hospital project in December, and is still waiting to hear back from government about whether the proposal, including a location, is approved.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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