First responders on the KBRH hospital road following the Sept. 11, 2018 wildfire. (Trail Times file photo)

City of Trail moves closer to building second road to hospital

Council awarded a $230,000 consulting contract on May 13

The City of Trail took a big leap towards building a second road to the regional hospital this week by awarding a $230,000 contract to the local engineering branch of TRUE Consulting.

Read more: Trail wildfire re-surfaces need for second hospital road

Read more: Province announces $23-million for KBRH upgrades

“This step solidifies the planning options for the proposed routes,” Mayor Lisa Pasin explained. “The route will go from the far end of the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) parking lot, down the bank, to a determined exit point.”

The exact route and exit point will be determined by council once a full report is submitted by TRUE Consulting.

“It is expected that the report will outline options for routing, project scope and pricing,” Pasin said. “Once the route is chosen, the next step will be securing funding, which will most likely be through a loan authorization. The city will work to identify and secure grants to offset costs for this priority project.”

Construction will be contingent on funding approval, though the goal is to break ground in 2020.

A commitment to build a second access road was made by Trail’s elected officials a number of years ago, but the project never advanced beyond the city actively sourcing government funding, which never panned out for a number of reasons. For example, the city invested in a traffic study on the road a few years ago, which the province later claimed showed that usage wasn’t sufficient enough to warrant a grant under the Strategic Priorities Fund.

Then there was a wildfire near the hospital last summer. The aggressive blaze forced the lone road to shutdown for many hours, hampering the entrance and exit to the hospital for both patients and staff.

While this occurrence didn’t necessarily push the initiative forward, Pasin says it did reinforce the need for a secondary road.

“This commitment was put forward by council based on Phase 1 and 2 expansions at KBRH being approved by the government,” she told the Trail Times. “The impetus was the government’s approval of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the KBRH expansion, which totals a $57 million investment into health care for the Kootenay Boundary region.”

Prior to awarding the contract to the lowest of two bids at the Monday governance meeting, city leaders sought clarification on the potential of cost-sharing with the Ministry of Health, specifically the Interior Health Authority (IHA).

“As indicated, council has identified the KBRH Second Access project as a strategic priority and the retention of an engineering firm will allow the project to advance,” noted Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) David Perehudoff. “The mayor and CAO recently met with IHA officials who are very supportive of the project. It is hoped that the access road will also have a positive impact on parking and the IHA indicated that the road will also provide the opportunity for further investment at KBRH.”

While funding for the road itself is outside of the scope for IHA, there may be support for offshoots to construction, such as new municipal service lines that will feed into the hospital.

“They may fund infrastructure service enhancements such as waterlines when these improvements extend directly onto IHA property and will connect to the building,” Perehudoff said. “This will require further review and discussion during design and budget development.”

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