Premier promises to ‘kick down’ barriers to Penticton hospital expansion

Premier Christy Clark pays a surprise visit to Penticton Regional Hospital

Premier Christy Clark stopped for a quick word Friday with Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District chair Janice Perrino during a   surprise visit to Penticton’s hospital.

Premier Christy Clark stopped for a quick word Friday with Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District chair Janice Perrino during a surprise visit to Penticton’s hospital.

Premier Christy Clark promised Friday to “kick down” the barriers that have stalled the proposed $300-million expansion of Penticton Regional Hospital.

Her surprise visit to the hospital came two days after doctors staged a town hall meeting where 800 people heard physicians’ concerns about the overcrowded, outdated facility. Clark did not, however, commit to funding the four-storey ambulatory care tower that is meant to fix the problem.

“It is many months away, but you only get there step by step,” she said.

“The problems has been this has been stalled between the concept stage and the business case stage. I’m going to go home, we’re going to kick down those barriers and we are going to get this next stage of this project moving more quickly.”

Clark said the business case, which should take six to eight months to complete, will contain detailed financial information needed to incorporate the project into the provincial budget and put the project out to tender.

“We need to do all of this in the context of our fiscal plan,” she added, “because we aren’t a government that just spends money without asking questions first. But we’re going to make sure that once we get the numbers nailed down… we’ll find a way to fit it into our fiscal plan.”

Janice Perrino, chair of the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District, said her board had been waiting for a “trigger” from the B.C. government to move ahead with the business case, and is “cautiously optimistic” that work will now proceed.

The regional hospital district and medical foundation have agreed to contribute a total of $140 million to the new tower, leaving $160 million for the B.C. government to cover.

Doctors had been hoping the cash would be included in the provincial budget due Feb. 19, but are pleased their efforts to apply public pressure to the government seem to have worked.

Those efforts have been coordinated by the Penticton Medical Society, led by president Dr. David Paisley, who accompanied the premier on her tour.

Paisley said Clark listened carefully to what doctors told her and “seems to appreciate the difficulties we’re experiencing.”

“This is not completely what we wanted,” Paisley added, “but she (was) here, she’s aware of it, and we’re hoping that this will push it forward so we’re able to inch closer to getting what we want. I think it’s a constructive move.”

He said no further public demonstrations have been planned yet.

“We’re going to see what she can deliver. And if we don’t see anything, we’re happy to get out and encourage people to help encourage (government),” Paisley said.

“We certainly hope that they can deliver.”

Before leaving the hospital en route to a different announcement in Oliver, Clark stopped to chat with Penticton couple Glen and Marilyn Wilkinson.

“She just came over to say, ‘Hello,’ and, ‘Nice meeting you,’ and it was nice that she would do that,” Glen said.

Marilyn, who had just visited the facility’s pain clinic, said she has seen first-hand the need for the new tower and fully supports the project.

“The treatment we received was awesome but (doctors) are working with inferior equipment and no room.”

 

 

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

Most Read