Health Minister Terry Lake visiting Trail next week for tour of regional hospital.

Trail: Health Minister will tour regional hospital

Health Minister Terry Lake's visit could be a positive for Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital's long awaited improvement project.

Having the health minister in town next week could be sign of good things to come.

With so much local focus on the longevity plan for Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH), this visit could mean the $40 million KBRH Sustainability Project is finally on the ministry’s radar as well.

“We’ve been trying to get Minister Terry Lake to come to Trail for quite some time,” Mayor Mike Martin told the Trail Times following Monday night council. “We’ve actually written two previous letters inviting him, first to last year’s Snowflake Gala then we invited him to Silver City Days.”

On both occasions Lake promptly responded but had scheduling conflicts, but the third time was the charm he’ll be in Trail on June 20 for a tour of the regional facility, Martin confirmed.

“The city extended a third invitation to specifically come and visit us and have a tour of our regional hospital,” Martin added. “Having said that, maybe we were just part of the catalyst that got this visit rolling but at last we are going to get him to see our hospital first hand.”

IHA (Interior Health Authority) is hosting the minister’s visit, but following that, the regional hospital board will meet with the minister.

“IHA has made this a priority project but the problem we’ve had is the fact that it’s been stonewalled, really, at the Ministry of Health level,” Martin explained.

“So he’ll be having discussions with IHA staff and then there will be a second meeting with the executive of the regional hospital district board, and that’s a tremendous breakthrough for us.”

(Stock image)

The multimillion KBRH project has been at the forefront of talks for a few years, especially during budget time, but a December meeting that was expected to bring the plan to fruition only brought disappointment to regional politicians, including Martin.

When IHA’s new chief executive Chris Mazurkewich made a point of stopping in Trail Dec. 1, instead of hearing some ministry guidelines on moving the project forward to the next stage, elected officials were told the plan was sent back to IHA for the health authority to investigate if it could solely fund the $40-million facelift.

How this and any other project is funded remains status quo the West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District typically pays 40 per cent of approved project costs while the remaining 60 per cent is funded by the province or through donations provided by local hospital foundations.

With wheels spinning seemingly going nowhere, the hospital board buckled up earlier this year and upped its $10 million reserve cap in advance of project approval, then the board let that decision be known.

At the behest of Martin and the hospital district, the Kootenay Boundary and Central Kootenay regional boards agreed to lobby the project by writing a letter of support and addressing it to Minister Lake.

“When you look at this hospital upgrade, $40 million and 40 per cent will come from the hospital board, it’s $26 million (for the Ministry of Health),” said Martin.

“That’s not a big amount in the grand scheme of things, so we believe if we can show Minister Lake what we’ve got, and he’s obviously very much aware of the facility, then I don’t think he can do anything else but support this project.”

Upgrades to the KBRH emergency room (ER), pharmacy and ambulatory care are at the epicentre of the project. Besides improving patient flow in the ER and providing additional pharmacy space, the plan focuses on the regional hospital’s ability to meet the increasing need for certain services like colonoscopies, gastroscopies and other one-day procedures.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School District 20 to improve childcare services for those working in emergency services

The district has launched a survey to aid in the consultation process

Scholarship up for grabs for Rossland art students

The $250 scholarship is being provided by the Rossland Council for Arts and Culture

COVID-19 adds worry and unexpected costs to Castlegar woman’s cancer fight

Community fundraiser raises $9,000 for Jennifer Rodrigues’ family

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes the Kootenays

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout parts of B.C. and Alberta

Rosslanders share own positive experiences during COVID-19 situation

Gardening and spending time with family some activities residents have been enjoying more of lately

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

COVID-19: Social media use goes up as country stays indoors

Overall messaging is up more than 50 per cent over the last month

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man says he skips puffs to save money, but others have it worse

Most Read