Saturday August 23, 2014

Regional district OKs hospital spending

'I think we've got the capacity'

The first phase will be built in front of Royal Inland Hospital along Columbia Street.

Regional hospital district directors unanimously approved on Thursday a $32-million allocation for the first phase of the RIH master plan.

Work on the initial phase, the clinical services building fronting on Columbia Street, is expected to begin next year.

The regional hospital district funds a 40-per-cent share of local funding for the hospital upgrade while the province funds 60 per cent. The project still requires provincial funding approval for the remaining share before it can proceed.

Approval came after a grilling of Interior Health administrators by rural representatives around the table.

Regional district approval was expected to sail through unchallenged but first required passage of its 2013 provisional budget.

Expenditures for 2013 have been budgeted at $17.4 million, a drop of $227,000 from this year’s budget.

A residential tax-rate increase of $21 per residential household assessment (based on an average assessed value of $270,000) over three years is helping to cover the regional share of costs.

A $260,000 portion of the provisional budget covers planning for the clinical services building and parkade.

The TRHD still has to come up with its remaining $68-million portion of the full master plan build-out. All told, the project is projected to cost $400 million, though inflation could push that price tag higher by the time of construction.

Sukh Gill, chief administrative officer, indicated the latter portion should present no fiscal challenges.

“I think we’ve got the capacity,” he told the board.

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