They didn’t break out the ceremonial gold shovels just yet, but Wednesday marked the first day of actual work to begin building the new Campbell River Hospital.
“An actual concrete step that is happening! This is a clear step forward,” said Claire Moglove, a city councillor and chair of the Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital Board.
They haven’t started tearing down hospital walls or jackhammering the pavement, but site preparation work has begun. The first step is to clear the area behind Yucalta Lodge, just off 2nd Avenue, to create about 150 new parking spaces, for staff and visitors.
There will be a path and stairs leading from the temporary parking area to the hospital and the Vancouver Island Health Authority is also considering a shuttle service.
Wednesday’s formal announcement took place on the grassy area, just below the hospital at the corner of 2nd and Cedar Street.
In that area, mobile units will be brought in as temporary offices for clerical staff, and then deconstruction can begin.
Ground breaking for the new 95-bed, $266-million hospital is slated to begin in April 2014 and construction will last three years.
“The Klahoose (First Nation) use this facility all the time,” said Chief James Delorme of the Cortes-based band. “Great times are ahead – let health be good for all of us!”