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

Just Posted

Temporary street closures upcoming in downtown Courtenay

Work is underway on a section of Fitzgerald Avenue in preparation for… Continue reading

VIDEO: Comox base commemorates Battle of Britain at service

Event hosted by 888 Wing with help from 19 Wing Comox to honour Canada’s role

Comox Valley giving back to the community

Organizations and individuals show their support for the community

Town of Comox seeks new administrative officer

CAO Richard Kanigan departs municipality; Comox ‘on a new direction for management’

Comox Valley Glacier Kings comeback short against Panthers

Team plays a close one against Oceanside the following night in VIJHL action

VIDEO: Comox base commemorates Battle of Britain at service

Event hosted by 888 Wing with help from 19 Wing Comox to honour Canada’s role

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

Prosecutors to consider charges in human-caused 2017 B.C. wildfire

RCMP forwards results of its investigation into Elephant Hill fire to Crown counsel

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Most Read