The wait for the redevelopment and expansion of the Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake continues.
The previous Liberal government had announced in March during pre-election that the concept plan was in its’ last stages of review, and that the business plan could begin this fall followed by construction within 12-18 months.
The new NDP government, however, has asked for a revised concept plan which Interior Health submitted this month.
Chair of the of Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD), Margo Wagner says it is actually a better concept plan.
“It takes into account that the way the population growth is going in the area that Williams Lake hospital serves. We’re going to need more active treatment beds so they have upped the bed quotient by 14 beds.”
Interior Health Director of Business Support, James Kinakin confirms that the revised plan was submitted to government in the second week of October and says that the approval process is now entirely up to the Ministry of Health.
Wagner says they will try to set up a meeting before the end of the year with Health Minister Adrian Dix to make the push to the business plan, and believes that the project will not get off the ground now until the earliest in 2020.
“However, I will say that this new government as I’m sure any government would have been is very much aware of the need for development in the Cariboo after the wildfire season we’ve suffered,” she says.
“We need to have new development done and that hospital is always over capacity and it serves a huge area especially out west. I’m confident that this will continue proceeding down the governmental chain.”
Wagner says that the CCRHD has 40% of the $125 million that Interior Health is calling for the project already in the bank.
“So we’re ready to go. We just need to get the provincial government going.”
(Listen to CCRHD Chair Margo Wagner who also talks about GR Baker Hospital at the 4:45 mark in the audio file below)