After months of quiet from the Vancouver Island Health Authority, the North Island Hospital Project has shown signs of progress lately.
According to Valerie Wilson, Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) communications, the business case outlining hospital plans at North Island College’s (NIC) Comox Valley campus is now in government hands.
“Government will now consider the business case,” said Wilson. “We do not know what their timelines around this would be, but if/when something is approved, there will be a formal announcement involving the partners in this project.”
Although the project is pending government approval, Wilson said talks regarding land acquisition with the college are going well.
“VIHA is continuing discussions with NIC to secure acquisition of land owned by NIC on Lerwick at Ryan Roads on which to build the new Comox Valley Hospital,” said Wilson. “Discussions with NIC, though not complete, are moving in a positive direction.”
The business case was completed and sent to government in late December, and if it’s approved, an 18- to 24-month process to choose a contractor will begin. Construction would begin immediately after the proponent is chosen and construction is expected to take 36 to 42 months from start to finish, according to the VIHA website.
The 10 acres of land at NIC was the second choice for the new hospital, after the first choice on Ryan Road across from Crown Isle was scrapped due to height restrictions on buildings. This 15-acre lot was within an area around CFB Comox and the Comox Valley Airport that restricts the height of structures to less than nine metres.
VIHA expects preliminary work, including designs, will be transferrable to a new location at the college, about one kilometre from the first site.
The new facility is part of a two-hospital project that includes a new hospital in Campbell River. The latter will provide emergency service in and around Campbell River. Patients requiring a transfer will be transported to the Valley, Victoria or Vancouver. The local facility is expected to have 150 to 160 beds with some regional services. The Campbell River hospital will have 90 to 95 beds.