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Save Our Hospital protests in downtown Princeton

Save Our Hospital gathered in downtown Princeton to protest scheduled emergency department closures starting today.
Princeton resident John Sandness holds up a sign beside a petition table set up by Save Our Hospital on May 1.

Save Our Hospital gathered in downtown Princeton today to get the attention of residents, the government and Interior Health.

Today marks the first day the emergency department at Princeton Hospital will be under scheduled closures from midnight to 8 a.m. Monday to Thursday.

Princeton residents held up posters, signed a circulating petition and put up a long banner saying "Save Our Hospital."

The petition now has 2,000 signatures, but Save Our Hospital organizer Spencer Coyne said another 1,000 should be added before the end of May.

He wants to have all the signatures in by May 31, in time for a public meeting in Princeton about the hospital closures at the end of June.

"Our short-term goal is to restore the emergency department. Our long-term goal is to restore the hospital," Coyne said.

"We don't want Interior Health to walk all over us anymore."

He said it is vital the hospital have an operating room and emergency ward again.

Neinke Klaver, the petition's organizer, said Save Our Hospital won't give up until Interior Health makes changes to the hospital.

"We've got a lot of signatures, so we're very positive. We're now going to put pressure on the Minister of Health," she said.

They will be looking for signatures from seasonal residents in Area H when they arrive in the summer.

"Half of the Regional District isn't here. We're looking for their support too," Coyne said.

He wants to get Princeton Hospital's emergency department back within a year.

Interior Health announced scheduled emergency department closures at a town council meeting on April 2. Representatives said they would look a the situation again in another year.