Cumberland still disgruntled about hospital location

Cumberland council supported Monday a Bronco Moncrief motion to ask the Health Ministry to review the proposed location for a regional hospital at the top of Ryan Road in Courtenay, which the councillor feels does not fit in with the long-term health needs of North Island residents.

Cumberland council supported Monday a Bronco Moncrief motion to ask the Health Ministry to review the proposed location for a regional hospital at the top of Ryan Road in Courtenay, which the councillor feels does not fit in with the long-term health needs of North Island residents.

Moncrief was at first enthusiastic when the Vancouver Island Health Authority announced it would proceed with a regional facility to provide top-notch health care to the Comox Valley and Campbell River. Lately, however, he feels the project has “gone awry.”

Moncrief feels the proposed location at North Island College is no better than the first choice across from Crown Isle, which was nixed because of height restrictions imposed by the Department of National Defence.

“Where it’s going is inaccessible,” Moncrief said. “Probably the worst place ever.”

He also feels Mike de Jong wrote a “hollow letter” to council after the Health Minister met with Mayor Fred Bates at the June 13 dialysis event in Cumberland.

In his letter, de Jong notes Bates’ concerns about the proposed hospital location, noting the height restrictions. He says a decision from DND and the Transportation Ministry, which are reviewing the matter, would impact the ability to construct the facility at the Ryan Road site. de Jong states the province “recognizes the importance of this new hospital” and commits to work with North Island communities “to make this a reality.”

Bates agrees de Jong penned a “pointless, useless letter,” dated July 26, long after the Dialysis Event.

• • •

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management board approved in the spring a $1 per tonne road maintenance grant program to compensate host communities Cumberland and Campbell River for impacts from landfill traffic on roadways.

The program will provide compensation dating back to Jan. 1. Had the program operated last year, Cumberland would have received about $102,000.

A report says no local landfills comply with provincial landfill criteria. The Campbell River site is almost at capacity. Options include an engineered and lined regional landfill that contains all leachate and most gas; shipping residuals to a distant landfill; waste-to-energy options such as incineration; and regional compost facility for organics.

Coun. Bronco Moncrief is glad to see the regional district moving on the landfill issue but will believe it when he sees it when the dump is out of Cumberland.

“It seems to me they have no intention of doing anything but landfill,” he said Monday.

• • •

Baird and Couns. Gwyn Sproule and Kate Greening, and an HR and/or CAO consultant, will comprise a selection committee to interview short-listed candidates from 48 applicants to replace departed CAO Anja Nurvo. The committee will make their recommendation to council for final decision.

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