Are two hospitals really better than one?

Dear editor,

This is an open letter in the hope that some of you will take particular notice of a significant decision by VIHA.

Dear editor,

This is an open letter in the hope that some of you will take particular notice of a significant decision by VIHA, supported by Courtenay city council and other local governing bodies, to proceed with the construction of two hospitals in the North Island contrary to the advice of paid professional consultants that one larger hospital offering a higher level of specialized services is the better choice.  The recommended hospital would be some $200 million less expensive!

I have expressed my concerns to the VIHA board, Mayor Jangula (Courtenay) and Mayor Jakeway (Campbell River) as well as several councillors.

There appears to be a very strong concern that funding may be withheld if these projects do not proceed immediately even though many have shared my concern that the decision is not in the best interest of our future health care needs.

That VIHA is doing their best to have this ‘fly under the radar’ seems evident in the release of Hospital Update Issue 2 dated July 2012 that gives notice to drop-in open houses in Campbell River July 3 and Comox Valley July 4!

I have yet to see any press coverage of these meetings in the local papers. I wonder how many citizens saw the notices (as I did on July 5) after the date of the meetings.  Did anyone attend those meetings?

The chosen location for the Comox Valley hospital is of particular concern!

Locating off Lerwick/Veterans’ Memorial Drive will add traffic to an already identified hazardous zone, as posted on the corner of Ryan and Lerwick in an area slated for several new commercial developments (Thrifty and others). The proposed plans call for another traffic light in the 0.7 km between Ryan and Mission Roads!

The site will take eight acres from North Island College lands and a request for two acres from the City parks, which is a playfield used by the nearby elementary school. Both of these properties are important to current and future education needs in our community.  Given that 40 acres were to be donated (no cost) by a forest company for a new hospital, this proposal seems ridiculous!

We often accuse our politicians of ‘sneaking’ decisions by us (i.e. HST) but how many of us are victims of our own inattention to important matters that deserve greater public scrutiny?

Tom Witty,


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