Comox Valley governments need united voice about hospital

Dear editor,

So they say they’re going to start site preparation for a new hospital.

Just before a provincial election.

Dear editor,

So they say they’re going to start site preparation for a new hospital.

Just before a provincial election.

People might remember the local MLA in the ’50s and ’60s who, just before every provincial election, would trudge up into the woods somewhere to crank up a bulldozer to start site preparation for a new inland highway.

But, I’m not writing this letter to express cynicism about provincial governance.

I’m writing to express criticism about municipal governance, and how the fact that we have four separate governments has led to the decision to build (or rather, “prepare the site for”) an inadequate hospital at an inferior location.

I believe if the Comox Valley had been speaking with one voice, VIHA would not have backed away from its original plan for a single regional hospital.

And, if there were a single government in the Comox Valley, the Lerwick site would not have been selected.

But, because there are four governments, Courtenay City council was put on the spot to rezone the property to accommodate a hospital.

A government that represents only one-third of the population of the Valley was asked to determine the location of a hospital that is to meant serve the entire population of the Comox Valley.

I think the councillors based their decision partly on the possibility that voting down the rezoning would mean delaying further the start of construction, thus potentially angering the population that they do not represent.

However, I don’t think they should have worried that any decision they would have made was going to have any impact as to when this hospital is going to be built.

All this plan really amounts to is putting a paint job on St. Joseph’s, moving it from Comox to Courtenay and adding 50 beds.

For $300 million!  That’s (let’s see — $300 million divided by 50, take off the zeros, which makes it $30 million divided by 5 — Holy Cow!) $6 million per bed.

Call me crazy, but (No, don’t call me crazy.  I hate it when people call me crazy.) I bet the government that comes in next spring is going to have a look at that and say Holy Cow — we don’t have that kind of money!

For that kind of project! In that location!

Like they did with the inland highway.

And then what? Are all four governments somehow going to get it together and go down as one to Victoria to protest? Like they got together over the homeless shelter?

Let’s join up as a single municipality so we can speak with one voice regarding how things happen in the Comox Valley.

Erik Eriksson,

Comox Valley