Trail pursues federal money for second access road to KBRH

The long awaited project is eligible for funding under the renewed Canada and B.C. government's Small Communities Fund program

After years of talk but no action locally, the City of Trail is walking down on a $2.3 million federal and provincial trail that could end with a second access road to the Trail hospital.

The long awaited project is eligible for funding under the renewed Canada and B.C. government’s Small Communities Fund program, which supports infrastructure improvements in municipalities with a population of less than 100,000 people.

Building another entry to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) is the city’s priority in light of the facility’s multi-million dollar sustainability plan outlined by the district’s hospital board last month.

“Council is well aware of this project that’s been on the books for a number of years,” David Perehudoff, the city’s chief administration officer explained to council during Monday’s governance meeting.

“The city is currently in discussions with IHA as far as the $40 million improvement to the hospital,” he continued.

“And the city has been made very aware that it’s integral that this project is approved, and that the city is on board with respect to the road.”

The second access road, which qualifies for the grant under the highways and major roads category, is proposed to start at the Goepel Street and Fourth Avenue intersection and work its way up the face of the bank below the hospital, and continue to climb up the hill then around the ambulance centre before connecting with the northern portion of the existing Hospital Bench  Road.

“Previously we’ve applied for this project and received considerable regional support,” Perehudoff added. “Given that the KBRH project is approved, this is the city’s number one priority and would hope for that same support.”

Listed in the regional hospital district’s October update, are key factors that compare the cost of building a new hospital over fixing up the aging Trail facility.

There’s been no approval from the Ministry of Health for any projects to date, however the board estimates a new building would be at least $400 million and a five-plus year venture versus renovations that are estimated to be about ten-times less and do-able over one year at KBRH.

Suggested improvements include new construction and a remodel to the hospital’s emergency department and relocating the ambulatory care and pharmacy to other areas on site.

The second access road is an initiative that fits into a new 10-year plan under the $218 million New Building Canada Fund that if approved, provides money to a maximum of two thirds the project’s total cost.

The federal government kicks in one-third and province kicks another one-third of the total cost, leaving the remaining project overhead the responsibility of the applicant – in this case the City of Trail.

Deadline for application is February 2015, with funding announcements expected by the fall.

Other projects eligible for a small community grant includes a new $1 million terminal building at the Trail Regional Airport; a $500,000 ultra violet disinfection system for the water treatment plant; and a public works service bay for $750,000.

Also on the list, is the future pipe/pedestrian bridge’s almost $10 million construction cost. That project also qualifies under the highways and major roads category. After Trail council agreed to go ahead with a potential new hospital road over the walking bridge, it was agreed that city staff suggest the regional district apply for federal funding for the Columbia River crossing.