TERRACE, B.C. — Health Minister Adrian Dix says he hears Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead loud and clear when it comes to the need to renovate or build a new hospital in Dawson Creek, though he stopped short on announcing a date for the ageing structure to be replaced.
Dix was in Terrace today to announce that the provincial government was moving to the business planning stage to replace Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace. The government said that the original request for a new hospital was made in 2010. In 2012, master planning got underway with concept planning starting in 2013. A concept plan was first received by the government in April 2014. An updated concept plan was submitted to the provincial government in October 2017 and has been approved.
The business plan phase will now get underway and will finalize details, such as the scope of the new facility and budget over the next 12 to 18 months. Upon approval of the business plan, the project will proceed to procurement and then construction.
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of an announcement last week by the Minister that the government would be committing over $100 million towards renovations of Cariboo Memorial Hospital in William’s Lake. That announcement prompted a passionate response from Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead on his Facebook Group page, saying that he felt frustrated about the lack of action on his community’s hospital getting sorely-needed upgrades.
The BC Liberals had promised to get the ball rolling on building a new hospital in the Mile ‘0’ City during the provincial election campaign last April. When asked about the Mayor’s concerns about a lack of progress in getting a new facility in his community, Dix acknowledged that several other communities have skipped the queue ahead of Dawson Creek.
“Mayor Bumstead is right, there are a lot of hospitals waiting, and have been waiting over the last number of years,” said Dix. “I think its fair to say that Dawson Creek was passed in line by several other communities after expecting a hospital that was sort-of announced in 2009 and 2010 and 2011. We understand that Dawson Creek is in a similar position to many other hospitals in the North: Quesnel, William’s Lake, Terrace, parts of the University Hospital in Prince George, Cowichan, and many other hospitals. They were all built at about the same time, and they’re all coming to end of their useful life. So, I hear the message from Mayor Bumstead. We’re working on all these issues in keeping with our budget.”
However, Dix stopped short of giving an exact timeframe on when a similar announcement would be made in Northeast B.C. Mayor Bumstead said last week that he would be pressing the NDP government about the issue once debate had finished on the upcoming provincial budget, which is due to be announced on February 20th.