Chamber demands clarity from VIHA

Community 'in limbo' because of the uncertainty surrounding the project

The Campbell River and District Chamber of Commerce is demanding better communications and co-operation from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) regarding planning for the new Campbell River hospital.

“A lack of transparency and commitment and ineffective communications on behalf of VIHA has led to misunderstandings and has undermined trust,” said Colleen Evans, Chamber Executive Director.

The Chamber has written a letter to VIHA reiterating that the Chamber has consistently informed the health authority of the need for effective and transparent communication to ensure the community is well-informed on a timely basis of the progress and plans for the new hospital.

“For our efforts we have endured lack of clarity from VIHA while the Comox Valley Regional District Hospital has received clear details of acute care services, size, and number of operation theatres, amenities and facilities for its new facility,” said Gary Thulin, Chamber President.

VIHA’s communications imbalance is distressing because the new hospitals were proposed and presented as parallel projects in terms of timing for construction. However, many of the details lacking in the Campbell River/Strathcona Regional District Hospital project have already been clarified with respect to the Comox Valley Regional District Hospital project, the Chamber states in its letter.

“The result is confusion and grave concern throughout the community,” Evans said. “Our community is in limbo, unable to move forward because there is such uncertainty swirling around the project. Our communities should be celebrating the benefits of two new hospitals. Instead we have been subjected to a divisive, confrontational and reactive culture of ‘have’ and ‘have not’ barriers to community development and wellbeing.”

Calls to VIHA were not returned before the Mirror went to press.

As the most influential business organization in Campbell River, the Chamber represents more than 450 businesses and their employees and is focused on creating a vibrant, healthy and sustainable local community.

 

The Chamber is demanding that VIHA address the following:

 

  • Clarification on the square footage of the new Campbell River Regional Hospital compared in size to the existing Hospital

 

  • Clarification and commitment to the levels of acute care that will be available in the new Campbell River Regional Hospital

 

  • Clarification and confirmation that the level of acute care services that currently exist in Campbell River Hospital will not be reduced

 

  • Confirmation on the ‘list’ of all services including lab services that will be available at the Campbell River Regional Hospital

 

  • A confirmed date for a public presentation of the submitted business plan for the Campbell River Regional Hospital.

 

In a recent Chamber survey of community and business priorities more than 75 per cent of respondents said “a new hospital in Campbell River that retains at a minimum the current services and levels of acute care” is a high priority.

“The hospital is of vital importance to all residents. From a business perspective the hospital is critical to attracting and retaining a skilled workforce,” said Cathy Voth, Chamber Board Director. “One of the first questions we are asked by entrepreneurs considering locating here is about our level of hospital services.

“As well, the ancillary revenue generation that results from purchases that are made of goods and services by the hospital from within the local community have a direct benefit back to the local business community in terms of direct sales and job creation.”

The Chamber will request a copy of the submitted business plan for the Campbell River Regional Hospital, to be provided for our review and comment, adds Evans.