Now is the time for the Vancouver Island Health Authority to review its decision to site the new Comox Hospital on the North Island College Campus in Courtenay.
If the two existing hospitals are to be upgraded this should not be a consideration in the siting of the new regional hospital. What is needed is a vision of the Central and North Island health needs over the next hundred years and such a vision cannot be accommodated by compressing the new Comox Hospital onto eight and a half acres on the college campus in Courtenay.
A synergism would result from having the improved specialist services, medical imaging, laboratory services and dialysis etc under one roof to the benefit of patients’ medical outcomes.
Of immediate concern is the approaching rezoning application of the NIC site to accommodate a hospital.
This application should not be considered before the mayors of Courtenay and Comox make public the traffic engineers’ report on the traffic turmoil that exists at the Lerwick-Ryan intersection.
This turmoil will be considerably exacerbated by the traffic that a hospital would generate. This plus the intrusion of ambulance and police sirens and helicopter landings on college classes and the neighbouring school, would further negatively impact the area.
VIHA should surely be considering a site of a minimum of 10 hectares (22 acres) to allow for the future expansion of the region’s population, a need that should not be at the expense of the future expansion needs of the college.
One more constraint to consider when viewing the proposed NIC site is the bottleneck presented by the two bridges which in case of a large scale emergency; (major earthquake, forest fire) would constitute a true access hazard in obtaining hospital services.
To conclude, note that my observations do not include where the new institution should be established but rather I wish to draw attention to the present proposal of two sites instead of one and what appears to be a lack of logic if considering the hundred year scenario of selecting a modest acreage at North Island College.