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.

Just Posted

RCMP: Trail wildfire investigation continues

The fire broke out behind KBRH the late afternoon of Sept. 11

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email it to editor@trailtimes.ca

Storm the Stairs and Trail Kidney Walk this weekend

Grapevine: Events in the Trail area for the week of Sept. 20 to Sept. 26

Kootenay Robusters end 18th paddling season

Women of Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Christina Lake and Grand Forks came together in 2001

Military exercises may be audible in Trail

The exercises will be conducted in the Trail area from Thursday to Sunday

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Feds launching review of oil tanker traffic in bid to renew pipeline approval

The feds have ordered the National Energy Board to bring recommendations on whether pipeline expansion should proceed

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

Most Read