Regional support for a second access point for the regional hospital has fizzled at the regional district level.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) board of directors voted against any direct support for the construction of a second access to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.
All the RDKB will do is support the City of Trail in its future pursuit of grant funding, said the city’s regional district representative, Robert Cacchioni.
“I was particularly disappointed with that decision,” he said. “I had hoped the regional district would have taken a stronger position on that second access but they didn’t and that is the way it is.”
The board chose not refer it to the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Board, it chose not to pay for it across the whole region, and it chose not to refer it to the East End Services Committee, said Cacchioni.
“In terms of regional thinking … that is something that a regional hospital needs to be supported with,” he said. “It’s a regional service and it should be shared in terms of regional cost apportionment since it is important to everybody.”
Now the City of Trail will be speaking to the Minister of Health in September on securing a grant for the second access project. There had been some concern about the way grants are given out and the way the provincial government was distributing money, said Cacchioni.
“That would seem to be one way they could improve the situation in the Kootenay,” he said. “We haven’t really received a great deal in terms of grant money.”
In mid-April the RDKB board of directors made a call for letters of support from all municipalities and electoral areas to see if the second access project had any appeal, either regionally or just locally. Trail was the first municipality to sign back on to the proposed $2-million project.
Cacchioni said if the entire region had elected to contribute to the undertaking, it would have 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.
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.