September 17, 2016 - 4:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - A tax increase is being supported by the region's hospital board to help build the next tower at the Royal Inland Hospital as expected costs have risen.
The Thompson Regional Hospital District board unanimously supported the tax, which will see an $20 increase in average property taxes in the hosptial district's region, Thompson-Nicola Regional District CAO Sukh Gill says.
The expected increase will help cover the hospital district's $172 million portion of two linked construction projects at Royal Inland Hosptial; the already finished clinical services building and the upcoming patient care tower. The patient tower is expected to cost around $430 million.
“It’s a pretty significant building,” Gill says. “Nine storeys.”
For comparison, the clinical services building was $70 million. Initially the two projects were expected to cost $300 to $350 million combined, according to a report to the hospital district board. Those costs have risen to an expected $500 million combined.
The tax increase follows a doubling of the hospital region tax to $127 for average residential assesments five years ago when initial plans for the new patient care tower and clinical services building were brought forward. At that time the hospital district commited to $100 million.
The plan for the tower is still in the earliest stages, he says, with funding still being organized and nothing out to tender yet. It’s not expected to take patients until sometime around 2022 or 2023, but nothing is definite.
On Friday, Sept. 16, the board voted to support the tax in principle. The increase still needs to go the province for approval and will return to the hospital board in March 2017 for formalization.
The average household in the hospital district is $275,000 and includes areas out side the regional district, including Lillooet and Scotch Creek. The tax increase will stay on for about 20 years, Gill says, as that’s the length of time for the borrowing term.
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