Residents should know early next year whether, or not, the City of Trail will proceed with building a secondary access road to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH).
“The city is actively working on the design and budget to proceed with the construction of a Second Access Road to KBRH,” Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff told the Trail Times.
“There hasn’t been anything advanced to council or the public as of yet as the city administration is consulting with the Interior Health Authority (IHA) as part of the conceptual design process,” he explained.
“City representatives, including the city’s engineering consultant, are hoping to meet again in December with IHA officials to discuss options further.”
A number of routing options have been prepared and the goal is for the city and IHA to come to an agreement on the best routing option that will provide the highest return and most utility.
“It is hoped that sometime early in 2020 there will be the necessary information available,” said Perehudoff.
“So council will complete a comprehensive review as part of deciding whether or not to advance the project further.”
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 came a wildfire near the hospital in September 2018. 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, Mayor Lisa 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 previously told the 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.”
Council took next steps several months ago by awarding a $230,000 engineering contract to the local branch of TRUE Consulting. During that May 2019 governance meeting, city leaders sought clarification on the potential of cost-sharing with the Ministry of Health, specifically Interior Health.
“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,” Perehudoff replied. “The mayor and (Perehudoff) 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.”