Penticton hospital decision date passes without explanation

B.C. government had expected to decide on new tower by end of June, but that's now been pushed back

Artist drawing of proposed new tower for the Penticton Regional Hospital.  The provincial government has postponed a decision on the business plan for the proposed hospital expansion. Contributed image

Artist drawing of proposed new tower for the Penticton Regional Hospital. The provincial government has postponed a decision on the business plan for the proposed hospital expansion. Contributed image

A decision on funding for a new tower at Penticton Regional Hospital that was expected by the end of June has  been pushed back without explanation.

“I understand that government is in the final stages of the review of the business plan and hope to be able to share information on the plan and next steps in the very near future,” Health Ministry spokeswoman Kristy Anderson said via email Monday.

She told the Western News in May that she expected the B.C. government to “complete their review (of the business case) and make their decision by the end of June.”

Anderson said Monday she didn’t have “exact details” about the reason for the apparent delay, nor the definition of “very near future.”

Janice Perrino, who has led the push for the expansion project, took news of the extended wait in stride.

“Patience at this point is hard, but we know it’s coming,” said Perrino, chairwoman of the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District.

“I’m very optimistic, not concerned. We’ll keep checking.”

Penticton MLA Dan Ashton, who sits on the B.C. government Treasury Board that will have to OK the project, said he was unable to say if the group had even seen a funding proposal for the hospital yet.

He said only, “I expect a decision ASAP,” and, “Things are progressing very, very well,”

The initial concept plan for the tower called for a four-storey ambulatory care tower with space for a medical school, surgical suites, outpatient clinics and an oncology centre, plus a new five-storey parkade nearby.

As conceived, the project would cost $300-million. The hospital district has committed $120 million, while the local hospital foundation has pledged $20 million. The B.C. government is expected to cover the balance.

 

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