“I’ll believe it when I see it.”
That was often a response we’d receive when talking to local residents about the $312.5-million Penticton Regional Hospital expansion.
Well, believe it.
Not only is site work at PRH now well underway, but any lingering doubts were laid to rest last week when Premier Christy Clark and other dignitaries presided over the official ground-breaking ceremony.
Now that the excitement of the ground-breaking has settled down, it’s time to get to work.
Actual construction of the six-storey tower is set to begin in August, with the new facilities scheduled to be open in early 2019. The focus then turns to Phase 2 – a much needed expansion of the PRH Emergency Department.
Meanwhile, the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation still has at least $8 million to go in our $20-million fundraising campaign to provide the medical equipment for the hospital expansion.
We can do it – with the community’s help. As you watch the tower start to take shape over the next three years, please keep us in mind for a donation. It’s a new beginning for our hospital.
A growing number of community events are being held in support of the PRH tower campaign.
The latest to come forward is the Buy The Sea seafood outlet in Penticton which is hosting a salmon barbecue outside their shop at 2100 Main St. (near BCAA) this Saturday, July 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Not only can you get a mouth-watering barbecued salmon and coleslaw for a donation to the PRH tower campaign, there will also be some bathtubs on hand. Some of the entries in the Summerland Yacht Club’s 2nd annual Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race on Aug. 20 at Powell Beach in Trout Creek will be on display. Our thanks to Samantha and Mike and the staff at Buy The Sea.
Finally, it would be hugely remiss of me not to mention Janice Perrino, our executive-director whose last day at work was July 15. As is well-known, she is leaving for a new job in Nanaimo.
Janice being Janice didn’t want a big fuss made about her departure, but the past couple of weeks saw a steady stream of people stopping by our office to say farewell.
Janice will probably hate me for including this in my column, but here’s an excerpt from a post I put on the Medical Foundation’s Facebook page shortly after Janice revealed she would soon be leaving. It’s worth repeating.
“To be frank, Janice floored us with the news. Now that fellow Foundation staffers Leah, Lissette, Marybeth, and I have picked ourselves up off the floor, we want to wish her the very best in her new endeavour. But we also want to say publicly that we will miss her incredibly.
“Janice’s greatest strength is her people skills – and no one notices this more than the people who work with her every day. It is truly amazing to watch her in action, doing what comes naturally by making people around her feel good about themselves.
“We know that whoever is hired as our new leader will bring their own qualities to the Foundation. Our $20-million fundraising campaign to supply the medical equipment for the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion will still be a complete success.
“However, there won’t be another Janice Perrino. Good luck Janice, we truly wish you the best.”
John Moorhouse is the development and communications officer for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. For information on donating, call 250-492-9027 or visit sosmedicalfoundation.com.