Premier Christy Clark is applauded by local politicians and health officials during her announcement Thursday of a new hospital for Campbell River.

Near-perfect hospital solution makes board chair smile

The province is ponying up 60 per cent of the cost of the new hospitals

There never was going to be a perfect solution, admitted Claire Moglove, the chair of the Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District.

But with a new hospital on the way for Campbell River, Moglove was able to say this with a smile.

“This is incredibly great,” said Moglove, who also serves a Campbell River city councillor.

Moglove was joined by a hundred or so other smiling faces last Thursday at the old hospital to hear the announcement of $266 million in funding to build a new hospital on the same site.

Earlier that day in Courtenay, Premier Christy Clark announced $334 million in funding to build a new hospital beside the North Island College campus.

“Our government is proud to invest in these two new hospitals to ensure North Vancouver Island families have the best medical care when they need it and where they need it, in their communities,” she told the gathering of regional politicians and hospital medical staff.

The province is ponying up 60 per cent of the cost of the new hospitals, while the regional health district will make up the remaining 40 per cent through borrowing and taxation.

The district already paid $3 million to prepare a comprehensive business plan to build two hospitals. The plan impressed the premier and, more importantly, treasury staff who gave the go-ahead to approve funding from the cash-strapped government.

Finances are tight, Clark acknowledged, but she’s encouraged by the economic development the construction projects will bring: an estimated 1,900 direct jobs and 1,400 indirect jobs in industries supplying construction goods and services.

The premier gave a lot of credit to Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, a Liberal, who lobbied for the two-hospital model.

Former Campbell River Mayor Charlie Cornfield was also singled out for his ongoing lobby for two hospitals.