Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital’s second access gets second life

Trail city council has resurrected the issue of a second access route to KBRH.

A second access road to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital is getting a second life as Trail city council has resurrected the issue and placed it back on the regional district table.

On May 9 council reaffirmed their commitment for construction of a second access route to the hospital — an issue in the city for nearly a decade — with a letter of support.

In mid-April the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) board of directors made a call for letters of support from all municipalities and electoral areas to see if the project had any appeal, either regionally or just locally.

Trail was the first municipality to sign back on to the proposed $2-million project, but it still has plenty of hurdles and commitments to obtain, as well as determining the city’s annual cost for the venture, said councilor Robert Cacchioni.

He said if the entire region elected to contribute to the undertaking, it would cost Trail $34,583 (23.5 per cent) over the 20-year lifespan of the borrowing, but $64,943 (44.13 per cent) per year if only the seven East End communities — including Rossland, Warfield, Montrose, Fruitvale, and electoral areas A and B — signed on.

“It’s a pretty small amount of money when you consider how important that hospital is to everyone,” Cacchioni said.  “My position is I don’t care which number it is. To me, this is something we should be looking at for the benefit of all communities around here, not just for Trail.”

The second road is meant to relieve traffic and offer an alternative route, should the main access ever be closed due to an emergency.

The most recent proposed route sends traffic from Goepel Street to Fourth Avenue and up a bank of land toward the current ambulance station. A former proposed route access was from McBride Street.

In May, 2009 the city completed a traffic survey, counting vehicles taking Goepel Street up to the hospital or the high school during a four-day span. It was found that approximately 2,600 vehicles took the route (both ways) each day on average.

That same year in late March and into April, about 3,000 cars were reported over the course of six days. This count included Fourth Avenue traffic.

Once the letters filter in to the RDKB, the board will have to determine if the project goes ahead at all, on a region-wide basis or just with East End Services.

There may also be other support for the project sought. The RDKB board sent a motion in late April to have the case for the second access put forward to the Regional Hospital board to fund the hospital’s second access.

The second access funding is one of two grant opportunities Trail is seeking under the Gas Tax General Strategic Priorities Fund and the Innovations Fund. Council also proposed a pedestrian bridge crossing the Columbia River (estimated at $6.5 million).