A piece of land donated to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation is being fixed up, but it’s not for new hospital construction.
The lot at the corner of Industrial Avenue and Camrose Street, the site of an old drive-in, was donated in 2011 to the foundation by Dave Kampe of Peter Bros. Construction, who wanted to ensure it is preserved for medical uses in perpetuity.
However, construction of the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion is some years away, so the land has been temporarily rented to Penticton Self Storage, which owns the neighbouring lot.
“They are going to be using it for storage space. They know the moment the construction gets agreed to with the new tower, they have to go,” said Janice Perrino, executive director of the foundation. “It’s just they are desperate for space and they know these things take time, so they asked.”
Perrino said she checked with the donor, and he confirmed he was OK with the temporary use.
“Rather than just have it sit there and not make anything from it, the storage company can use it for their needs and supply extra storage space for people needing space for their trailers and that kind of thing,” said Perrino, adding that the storage company will not be building any permanent structures — the lot will be used for storing larger items.
Meanwhile, the rental income will be used to pay administrative costs at the foundation.
“We make money to run our office through advertising and the interest we make on our money, everything we earn revenue from, but donations we want to send strictly back out. This was another way to help pay the bills and get more back out,” said Perrino.
Perrino also notes the clearing and grading of the land will be a bonus when PRH does get to the construction phase for the new expansion.
“So it’s ultimately killed two birds with one stone for us, it just makes it sweeter to have it ready for the construction phase, gives them what they need now and helps us to pay administration costs at the foundation,” said Perrino.
With a market value of slightly more than $1.5 million in 2010, it was the largest single donation the foundation has received.
At the foundation’s request, Penticton city council has removed the property from the list of tax-exempt properties.