Courtenay mayor refutes hospital claims by Cumberland councillor

City of Courtenay staffers were not on the team that recommended the North Island College site for the new regional hospital.

City of Courtenay staff members were not part of the consultant team that recommended the North Island College site for the new regional hospital, city council is making a point to tell the provincial health minister.Mayor Greg Phelps has written a letter to Health Minister Michael de Jong hoping to “set the record straight” regarding a letter the Village of Cumberland sent in late September asking to revisit the site selection process for a new regional hospital in the Comox Valley, especially as it relates to City of Courtenay staff.Phelps is concerned about a statement by Cumberland Coun. Bronco Moncrief that, “Then came more lobbying, and the decision to hire a ‘local’ consultant team to go through the process again. That consultant team, made up of mainly Courtenay staff, recommended that the new Comox Valley hospital be located in East Courtenay.”The new regional hospital is tentatively targeted for construction at North Island College on Ryan Road. This site is the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA)’s second choice after the Department of National Defence nixed the first choice at Ryan Road across from Crown Isle due to height restrictions this summer.”The only involvement that city staff had was a meeting with the consultants after VIHA had shortlisted four sites — three of which were in the city,” Phelps wrote in his letter to de Jong. “That meeting dealt exclusively with the availability of services such as sewer, water, transit, etc. I am entirely satisfied that the proper division between the city, VIHA and its consultants was followed. City staff were not part of the ‘consultant team,’nor were we a part of selecting the VIHA consultant!”Phelps concludes that, “It is time to put these types of arguments behind us and get on with building the hospital(s).”The letter, written Oct. 5, came to council Monday.”I certainly have no problem with Cumberland disagreeing with the location; that’s their right,” said Phelps.Coun. Jon Ambler was glad the issue was addressed.”The average person in the street can say and do what they want, and short of slander or libel, there’s not very much you can do about it,” he said. “Elected officials, though, have a higher responsibility. They are held to a higher standard, and when an elected official speaks, there’s a responsibility that their comments must be true, they must be complete, they must be accurate, and they must be within context, and that’s a standard that applies to every one of us.”The comments there did not meet that standard and, therefore, we must correct it when it comes forward because if we don’t correct it, then we’re just condoning it, and we can’t go down that road. So, I’m very glad we’ve taken the initiative to do this.”Coun. Larry Jangula entirely agreed with Phelps’s comments.”This decision was made by VIHA themselves,” he said. “Our staff did not go out and say ‘this is where we want it.’ I think it’s healthy we kept at arm’s length. I understand there will always be people unhappy regardless of where we put this hospital. I appreciate your comments.”Coun. Murray Presley concurred as well.”Those comments that were made needed clarification,” he said.NIC and VIHA are currently working on an agreement for use of the land.It has been reported that the Ministry of Health 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.Moncrief has said he feels the proposed location at North Island College is no better than the first choice across from Crown Isle and that it is inaccessible.writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox set to apply for two infrastructure grants

Sanitary sewer, sidewalk extension in the town’s plans

The number of reported assaults in Courtenay jumped from 302 in 2019 to 364 in 2020. File photo
Assaults up in Courtenay, according to police statistics

The number of assaults increased significantly in Courtenay from 2019 to 2020,… Continue reading

Sawyer, a northern saw-whet owl that became synonymous with Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society, passed away peacefully over the weekend. Sawyer would make numerous public appearances with MARS staff in and around the Comox Valley and Campbell River. Photo supplied.
Popular MARS ambassador owl dies

Submitted MARS Wildlife Rescue has lost one of its mightiest ambassadors. Tiny… Continue reading

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 19 Wing Comox assisted in helping an injured hiker down from the top of Mt. Benson near Nanaimo Jan. 23. Photo by 19 Wing Comox
With video: 442 Squadron assists mid-Island mountain rescue

The crew on the Buffalo hand-launched 15 flares

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

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

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

Most Read