Bates, Moncrief still object to Courtenay site, model of hospital

Revisiting the site selection process for a regional hospital would be "prohibitive in terms of cost and time," the Health Ministry has stated in response to an appeal from Coun. Bronco Moncrief of Cumberland.
In a letter, Moncrief asked Health Minister Mike de Jong to revisit issues concerning a regional facility, which is targeted for construction at North Island College.

Revisiting the site selection process for a regional hospital would be “prohibitive in terms of cost and time,” the Health Ministry has stated in response to an appeal from Coun. Bronco Moncrief of Cumberland.

In a letter, Moncrief asked Health Minister Mike de Jong to revisit issues concerning a regional facility, which is targeted for construction at North Island College.

Several years ago, he said the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District and Vancouver Island Health Authority wanted to explore building one regional hospital in either the Comox Valley or Campbell River while maintaining a community hospital in the other community, as opposed to continuing to pour money into two facilities. The practice, Moncrief explains, has “proven successful in other regions to attract specialists.

“All wholeheartedly supported VIHA in this forward-thinking approach and the CSRHD board voted 17-3 to support this model,” Moncrief states, adding the cost was to be about $350 million.

However, following political debate and special-interest group lobbying, Moncrief said VIHA decided to build two facilities in each community at a new cost of $600 million. As for location, consultants hired by VIHA recommended the hospital be located at or near the Inland Island Highway.

But Moncrief said a ‘local’ consultant team comprised mostly of Courtenay staff recommended Ryan Road in East Courtenay, which he and Mayor Fred Bates have criticized in terms of inaccessibility, proximity to 19 Wing, and high-traffic volume and accident rates.

The college locale is option No. 2. In the summer, the Department of National Defence nixed the first choice at Ryan Road across from Crown Isle.

The Health Ministry said the college site has “considerable merits,” including proximity to the school and potential for training healthcare staff.

“Never has synergy with nursing students been the criteria for deciding on the model or location of a hospital and I believe that is simply a means of justifying a decision they know is wrong,” said Bates, who — like Moncrief — is not seeking re-election this fall.

He feels there is no desire to make the hospital “a strong public issue.

“I am very concerned that the province will spend an extra $300 million-plus to create the exact problem we have now with divided facilities and the lack of ability to attract specialists, and they will do it with eyes wide open.”

The college and VIHA are working on an agreement for use of the land. The ministry expects the business case to be presented for review by the end of October. It will then submit a capital budget request to government for consideration.

“Government will review the ministry’s capital budget request, along with similar requests from other areas of government, to ensure priority programs and services to British Columbians are delivered as efficiently, effectively and affordably as possible,” the ministry states.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A WestJet flight on the runway leaving Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Aviation company seeks contracted employees to fill former WestJet roles at YQQ

Menzies Aviation from Edinburgh Park, Scotland, operates in 34 countries across the world

A cougar was spotted Monday near Queneesh Elementary. (WildSafe BC photo)
Cougar sighted Monday near Courtenay school

Conservation officers are warning the public to avoid the wooded areas around… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
SD71 to address COVID-19 exposures with virtual town hall

The meeting is set for Thursday, March 4

Courtenay Elementary is the latest school on a growing list that has COVID-19 exposures. Google Maps photo
Courtenay Elementary latest school on growing list of COVID-19 exposures

Exposure dates at the school on McPhee Avenue are Feb. 22, 23 and 24

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read