August 11, 2013 - 5:00 AM
PENTICTON - Health Minister Terry Lake assured Penticton residents the new hospital expansion is coming but don't expect it any time soon.
The ministry confirmed today that the business case the government needs to go ahead with the expansion will determine the schedule, scope and costs.
"Following approval of the business plan, we will move to procure a contractor to construct the new patient care tower," said a spokesperson for Lake.
Lake visited Penticton Regional Hospital on Tuesday to see the problems and promise a start to the business case for the proposed $300-million patient care tower.
In an email, the minister said the care tower is a priority for the community and he recognizes some are anxious to begin building.
"This is a common feeling for any community during the planning phase and before shovels are in the ground," he said. The tower is a major capital project and steps need to be followed. "A new hospital is not something that can be built overnight."
The business case began in April and its expected to be completed in 2014. The business plan will help determine the schedule, scope and cost of the new patient care tower. Following approval a contractor will construct the new patient care tower. The minister added since 2001 the government has spent more than $8.4 billion on health capital projects.
A doctor-led coalition, headed up by Dr. David Paisley, has been pushing for a new expansion for years. Physicians say the hospital was built to handle 1950s medical problems and for a fraction of the current population.
Paisley said the group will keep an eye on the expansion's progress and hope to be consulted on the design.
To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013