Speakers explore pros and cons of new Comox Valley hospital

A slight majority of speakers were opposed Tuesday to the proposed zoning amendment for the development of the new Comox Valley hospital.

Of those expressing their opinions Tuesday night about the proposed zoning amendment for the development of the new Comox Valley hospital, a slight majority were opposed.

Courtenay council heard from about two dozen people at the Filberg Centre.

They commented about a 2.37-acre playing field site owned by the City facing Lerwick Road and an 11.17-acre portion of the North Island College campus. An Official Community Plan amendment and rezoning, respectively, would be required for the development of the 153-bed hospital at that site.

The facility is expected to cost about $334 million and be completed in 2017. It will be jointly funded by the provincial government (60 per cent) and the Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District (40 per cent).

“This is the most important institutional addition in many years,” said Courtenay resident George Aldcroft. “The $800,000 from VIHA that the City is getting (from the sale of the city property) for future parks is a winning solution for all parties.”

Money from the sale of the Courtenay-owned land to the Vancouver Island Health Authority would be used toward a regional playing field for the entire Comox Valley to use, according to a report to Courtenay council earlier this month from City director of legislative services Peter Crawford.

The land sale would officially go through only after the rezoning process is complete.

Muir Road resident Tom Witty expressed concerns about the “totally unsatisfactory site for a district hospital.”

He said the land area is too small for parking and future expansion, and the infrastructure support would be a significant future burden for taxpayers of the city.

Some residents, including a physician/surgeon who works at St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox and the Campbell River Hospital concurred with Witty, and reminded council, “Your decision must not remain political, but what is best for the patient.”

Others expressed concerns around traffic, the impact on future growth of the college, loss of green space and trees and the proximity to Queneesh Elementary School.

“The size of the lot is too small,” said Dave Ogilvy. “Costco looks like it has a larger lot. There’s not enough room for growth for the hospital or the college.”

A group of Tamarack Drive residents, including Bev Skwernuik who began a petition opposing the rezoning, also expressed their concerns.

Some supporters of the amendments commented the process of constructing a regional hospital is not going to happen, and although there never will be a perfect situation, the project needs to move forward.

“The ship has sailed a long time ago. We’re not going to be getting a regional hospital,” noted Art Meyers. “We wanted a race horse and we ended up with a camel, and now we have to run with it.”

Bob Mortimer said he’s placing his trust in VIHA and their planners, while Bruce Muir and Comox Valley Regional District Area B Director Jim Gillis urged council to move forward as quickly as possible.

“There is never going to be a perfect solution,” noted Muir.

Between 70 to 80 people attended the public hearing. Courtenay council will be voting on the OCP and rezoning applications mostly likely at Monday’s council meeting, if not, the following week, confirmed John Ward, the city’s manager of corporate administration.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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

Just Posted

HIGHLAND sECONDARY scHOOL comox
COVID-19 exposure at sixth Comox Valley school in past eight days

Island Health has posted an exposure alert at a sixth Comox Valley… Continue reading

Artist Sandra Meigs will be the next speaker in NIC’s online 2021 Artist Talk series, appearing virtually on Friday, March 5 at 1 pm. For the full schedule and link to attend the Artist Talk Online Series, visit https://nicart.tickit.ca/. (Photo: The Glass Ticker (2017) — 15’ X 9’ X 5’, wood, enamel, lights, aluminum, glass, automata. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.)
Celebrated artist and mentor joins North Island College Artist Talk series

North Island College’s virtual 2021 Artist Talk series welcomes Sandra Meigs, past… Continue reading

The Coast Range makes a spectacular backdrop for orca heading towards Discovery Passage of Campbell River Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Frank Neil
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from Comox ferry staff

After Dasher made a dash, ferry staff found her and got her home safe

A rendering of the Denman Green plans for the Kirk Road site. Image, DHA/Ronan Design
Denman Green finds new site for housing

Facing COVID delays, the project reached expiration date on initial site

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

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 boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Photo: Lt. Sandy Pridmore, MARS Darlene Banerd, MARS, Warren Warttig and Captain Rob Stevens show the new automatic external defibrillator (AED) that will be located at the MARS facilities located at 1331 William Beach Road, Black Creek. Photo supplied
Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society adds AED to Williams Beach Road location

Submitted Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) has collaborated with the Comox Firefighters… Continue reading

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Most Read