A crowd of about 20 residents broke out into fits of cheer Monday night in city chambers when Trail council rose to their feet to support a motion dedicated to keeping regional status at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH).
Trail resident Anna Merlo was among those in attendance to show support for the Trail hospital.
“It seems that the only time that Trail people get passionate is when the hospital is threatened,” she said. “I wish they would feel the same way about all of the other things that are not going on in this town.”
Trail councillor Kevin Jolly felt compelled to lead fellow local politicians in taking a stand and protecting the Trail hospital because Castlegar council discussed the possibility of a new regional hospital with Health Minister Mike de Jong when they met with him at the beginning of the month.
“We must send a clear message and speak with one voice to all those who would act to destabilize and disrupt the future of KBRH in Trail,” said Jolly. “Now is the time to show our unwavering support to our citizens, who financially support this hospital, the medical community and staff who labour in it and most importantly for the patients who rely on KBRH in their times of need.”
Beyond asking his colleagues to support the retention of KBRH, Jolly requested that all capital funding for the region be dedicated to the refurbishment, upgrading and support of existing medical facilities to deliver the highest level of patient care.
Council, including Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs, followed Jolly’s gesture and stood rather than simply raising their hands to record their unanimous decision.
A letter will be sent to Interior Health, the Health Minister and MLA Katrine Conroy to further express their stance. Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff said the meeting was held in the best interest of the region.
“When we look at the facility presently, we know that it’s aging, we know that it’s going to need replacement,” he said. “What we were supporting was the idea that Interior Health take a planning process to determine the type of facility and where a new facility can be best located to provide the best benefit to everybody in the Kootenay Boundary region.”