Premier Announces Two New Hospitals for the North Island
COURTENAY/CAMPBELL RIVER - Premier Christy Clark gave the green light for the North Island Hospitals Project at an estimated cost of up to $600 million, which includes two new hospitals to benefit Vancouver Island patients living in the Comox Valley, Campbell River and surrounding communities, as a part of Budget 2012.
"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," said Premier Clark. "These projects will also create construction jobs in the region and will provide long-term opportunities for health-care professionals and their families."
Both hospitals are expected to go to procurement this spring, with construction planned to begin in 2013 and completion estimated for 2017. The cost of the project is estimated at around $600 million, but is subject to change once the procurement process is complete. The project will create approximately 1,900 direct jobs and over 1,400 indirect jobs in industries supplying goods and services used in construction.
"Across British Columbia, we are committed to building patient care," said Health Minister Michael de Jong. "With these two new hospitals, we are meeting the challenge of ensuring that quality, cost-effective and timely health services are available to all British Columbian families in the years to come."
"The residents of the Comox Valley were very clear, the region needed improved health-care services for the growing population of the North Island," said Comox Valley MLA and Minister of Agriculture Don McRae. "This project has been my number-one priority since 2009, and I am pleased work is now underway to make it a reality. This project will provide an enhanced quality of life for the North Island residents for generations to come."
As one component of the two-hospital project, the new Comox Valley Hospital will have capacity for up to 153 beds and will replace the existing 116-bed St. Joseph's General Hospital. The plan is for the new hospital to be located at the intersection of Lerwick and Ryan roads in Courtenay, adjacent to North Island College. The design and location of the hospital will be finalized upon completion of the procurement process. VIHA has reached an agreement-in-principle with North Island College (NIC) to build the facility on land at Comox Valley campus. Steps are under way on consultation and final approvals required for the transfer of the land.
Locating the new hospital adjacent to NIC will support partnerships around the education of health-care professionals.
St Joseph's General Hospital in Comox was originally constructed in 1937, and is operated by the Archdiocese of Victoria through an affiliation agreement with Vancouver Island Health Authority.
The second component of the two-hospital project will see the new Campbell River and District General Hospital built at the existing hospital site on 2nd Avenue in Campbell River. The new hospital will have capacity for up to 95 beds, including mental-health and addictions beds. The new facility will replace Campbell River's aging 70-bed acute-care facility, which was built in 1956, with additions to the facility in 1966, 1972 and 1990. The final hospital design is subject to completion of the procurement process.
"It's absolutely great news that the North Island Hospitals Project is moving forward. The two new hospitals will provide a much-needed major benefit to health care on the North Island," said Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District chair Claire Moglove. "Getting to this stage has been a long time coming. There has been an exhaustive amount of work done - by citizens' groups, Regional Hospital Board members, physicians and by the Vancouver Island Health Authority - all to bring the project to fruition."
"This is a wonderful day for residents of North Island, for VIHA and for the patients we serve," said Don Hubbard, VIHA board chair. "Residents of the Campbell River and the Comox Valley areas and northern Vancouver Island communities need and deserve these new acute-care facilities. These two new hospitals will improve safety, efficiency and clinical outcomes and assist VIHA in our goal to provide timely, accessible, high-quality care closer to home."
Since 2001, more than $7 billion has been spent on health capital projects in British Columbia. Over the next three years, British Columbia's health-care system will benefit from investments such as new medical equipment and modernized health facilities as part of a $2.3-billion health sector capital plan. This includes investments like the North Island Hospitals Project as well as other Vancouver Island projects such as the Royal Jubilee Hospital Patient Care Centre in Victoria as well as new emergency department and kidney dialysis centre at Nanaimo General Regional Hospital and a new emergency department Victoria General Hospital.