December 17, 2013 - 10:21 AM
PENTICTON - It's not a bad thing to temporarily turn over the site of Penticton's future hospital to a self-storage business.
The two acres next to the Penticton Regional Hospital will still be available when it comes time to build the new expansion South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation executive director Janice Perrino said. The expansion will solve the centre's overcrowding and outdated infrastructure and equipment issues. The two-acre lot was donated.
Perrino said it took several months to put the deal together for land the foundation has had since 2011. Wine Country Self Storage director Dennis Meakin approached the foundation with the offer of leasing the land from them. The revenue will pay for foundation administration expenses which frees up other cash for future, albeit smaller, projects.
The foundation land was also removed from the city's tax exemption status as it will be making money.
Perrino expects there'll be a new hospital or patient care tower sitting on the two acres sooner rather than later, a view that's been flipped on its head from earlier this year. In March the Penticton Medical Society and its president Dr. David Paisley led a public protest to get the province's attention. They complained lower priority communities received millions for their medical projects but not Penticton.
The society said they've made several business cases for the new hospital in the past but Perrino said Premier Christy Clark asked for something new.
Perrino said the new plan is a higher-level design taking into account the needs of every hospital department, something "that was never done before." And there is a huge support from the medical staff, the public as well as local politicians such as mayors and MLAs.
"There's a ground swell of support... this will go forward," she said. "We (also) intend to make sure our government knows this is a priority."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013