The $19-million KBRH upgrade is expected to break ground in the coming weeks. (Trail Times file photo)

$19-million reno ready to break ground at KBRH

At $2.45-million over budget, West Kootenay-Boundary taxpayers will pay another (near) $1 million

West Kootenay-Boundary taxpayers will fork out another $980,000 toward upgrades at the regional hospital after the first leg of work came in $2.45 million over budget.

The 30-member board, which includes 17 Central Kootenay directors and 13 Kootenay Boundary directors, reconvened on Wednesday and voted unanimously to pay its 40 per cent share in the overage, or $980,000, as it was determined “not feasible” to reduce the project scope closer to the original $16.6 million budget.

The contractor of the $19-million project was also revealed during the meeting, which was the first since March.

Coun. Sandy Santori attended on behalf of the City of Trail. He confirmed everyone was in agreement with the new budget and is eager to see the project break ground.

“This is good news and it’s going ahead,” he told the Trail Times. “It was discussed and went to bylaw for additional funds, and the vote passed unanimously.”

With the first stage of renovations ready to proceed, Santori mentioned a change made to two more phases of upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH). Those involve improvements to ambulatory care and the pharmacy.

“Now they are calling it just ‘Phase 2,’ both will be done in one,” he explained, noting the collective budget falls between $30 million and $40 million.

“That is before the ministry now, and hopefully (the board) will get an answer on that in the fall some time.”

Related story here: $18-million upgrade for KBRH

Related story here: Ribbon-cutting for new ICU

On Thursday, Interior Health announced Ledcor Construction Ltd. was selected as the general contractor overseeing construction and new electrical in the KBRH emergency department.

Renovation plans include a single-storey addition to the existing building that will significantly expand the size of the currrent department. More square-footage will address immediate space and service challenges, and accommodate projected patient care needs for years to come.

The redevelopment will feature updated and expanded trauma bays, exam rooms and procedure rooms, and will add an airborne isolation and secure room to the emergency department.

Significant transformer and electrical upgrades are also included.

Construction is slated to start in the weeks ahead and the new emergency department is expected to open to patients in 2020.

The project’s $19.05 million budget will be shared by the Province of British Columbia through Interior Health, the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District (WKBRHD), and the KBRH Health Foundation.

“The WKBRHD supports the upgrades to our regional hospital,” said board chair Aimee Watson in the Aug. 23 release. “As upgrades are essential to the viability of services that all our residents, from Rock Creek to Crawford Bay, depend on, we are faced with hard decisions. Health care is expensive, even more so when we are looking at infrastructure. We are advocates for health care in the region to be optimal and, as a rural area, see better service delivery for all residents. These upgrades will lead us to improved regional health care services.”

The hospital health foundation committed to raising $1 million toward the first phase of work.

“The KBRH Health Foundation is pleased to support the Emergency Department expansion at KBRH with the launch of our $1 million Emergency Department Campaign,” said Lisa Pasin, the foundation’s director of development.

“We believe this capital project will greatly enhance patient care in the Kootenay Boundary and are truly humbled by the support we have received from our communities to date for this priority project. We look forward to working with our government and community partners as we raise funds to purchase state-of-the-art medical equipment for the new Emergency Department.”

Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West said, “Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and its health-care workers have served people in the area well since it opened in 1954. The work that is going to be done will better support the emergency health-care needs of people in Trail and throughout the region.”

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