Janice Perrino

Janice Perrino

Rotary adds support for Penticton hospital

A service club in the home of “Canada’s warmest welcome” has opened its arms to supporting the hospital expansion.

A service club in the home of “Canada’s warmest welcome” has opened its arms to supporting the expansion of the region’s acute care hospital.

The Rotary Club of Osoyoos has pledged a $30,000 donation to the South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Medical Foundation for medical equipment for the new patient care tower at Penticton Regional Hospital.

Club president Marieze Tarr said the club is solidly behind the PRH project.

“We all felt this is a long-term commitment we as a club would like to make, to benefit so many people in this whole region,” she said. “Probably all of us will, at some stage in our lifetime, use the Penticton hospital.  Therefore, it’s something near and dear to all our hearts.”

The Osoyoos Rotary club was established in 2003 and now includes 20 members.

After 25 years with Rotary, including a year as president of the Osoyoos club in 2006, Peter Steele is now among its honorary members.

Steele noted this isn’t the only time Osoyoos Rotary has made a major donation to PRH.  They also contributed $25,000 in 2007-08 to the SOS Medical Foundation’s campaign for a new digital mammography machine at the hospital.

Steele fully supports the club’s recent decision to donate to the PRH tower campaign.   The six-storey building will include new ambulatory care clinics, 84 single-bed rooms, five operating rooms, space for the UBC Faculty of Medicine program, and more.

“It’s long overdue. This is our hospital,” he said. “If I’m going to stay in the South Okanagan, I need this hospital to serve my needs.

“I know that to attract quality physicians, we’ve got to have a quality facility. They’re not going to come to Penticton, if this hospital is out of date.”

An added benefit for Osoyoos residents will be they may no longer face a two-hour drive to Kelowna for certain cardiology and other medical tests.

“I don’t want to keep driving to Kelowna to go to the hospital,” Steele said. “We left Osoyoos at 7 o’clock the other morning for a cardiology appointment at nine.”

Although the PRH project will be the major focus of Osoyoos Rotary over the next few years, other smaller local projects won’t be overlooked.

“We donate little bits of money to a lot of local organizations, but this would be our major donation to a local project,” Tarr said. “We like to donate to a local cause as well as an international project – we also will be providing sanitation to a daycare project in South Africa this year.”

Major fundraisers held by the Osoyoos Rotary club include the Lobster on the Beach festival in September, an annual June golf tournament, and the popular Canada Day/Cherry Fiesta pancake breakfast on July 1.

Construction of the new patient care tower and adjoining parkade at PRH will soon get underway and should be ready for patients by early 2019.