The regional hospital board has reaffirmed its support for building two new hospitals to serve the North Island.
During a board meeting on May 12, the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District reaffirmed its support for the two-hospital model and for the locations chosen for the delivery of future hospital services to its constituents.
The board also reconfirmed its support for having all existing services maintained at the current hospitals during the transition to the new hospitals and for a minimum of 40 “alternative level of care” beds provided prior to the construction of the new-hospitals for the long term care patients in the existing hospitals.
Recently, Cumberland Mayor Fred Bates said a hospital in Courtenay near the Crown Isle development is not the best location from a patient’s standpoint during a Cumberland council meeting.
Bates also suggested a single regional hospital would be better than two new facilities in the Comox Valley and Campbell River.
Bates said he hoped local government, the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the provincial government could revisit the original proposal before the province commits to a new hospital at the top of Ryan Road.
Grant Hollett, director of the North Island Hospitals Project, was relieved to hear the renewed support from the regional hospital board.
“For this to be reopened and the debate to begin anew about a single hospital or two-hospital model would be a significant delay in us completing the business case,” he said.
“The regional hospital district reaffirming its support is a bit of a relief to us here, as we’re not reopening the debate…it means I can work within the timelines I have here, which is still a fall target date for submitting the business case.”
The health authority announced in January it had entered into an agreement with Silver Sand Land Corp. – Crown Isle – for the purchase of a 15-acre site on Ryan Road.
The new hospital in Campbell River is slated to be built on property next door to the present hospital, located at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Birch Street.
The Comox Valley hospital will have 150 to 160 beds with some regional services, while the Campbell River hospital will have 90 to 95 beds. The estimated cost for the two hospitals is $550-$600 million.