With the City's approval of a development permit Tuesday, Royal Inland Hospital's new clinical/parkade building took one more step toward construction.
Building architect Ken Johnson said afterward if the rest of the approvals proceed as hoped - including the province's financial go-ahead in early 2013 - the shovels could be digging into the hillside by April.
The $80-million project is part of an overall $400-million master site plan for the hospital.
Martin Deheer with Interior Health told council the building will house about 10 outpatient programs, moving them away from the acute-care main hospital.
The front parkade will be outfitted with technology that will let drivers know which stalls are vacant, or if the parkade is full. The parkade entrance will be on the hospital property, while the exit will lead out onto Columbia Street.
Construction is expected to take about 28 months, he said.
Hospital administrator Marg Brown said some of the programs going into the clinical building will be new. It will also include teaching space for medical students.
The large trees close to Columbia Street will be taken down, but some of the wood might be used in the building. An arborist will be looking at the eight trees further back that were planted in memory of a loved one that face being removed.
Deheer said a landscape architect has suggested using a tree spade - a large machine that will dig the trees out - at a time of the year when they are dormant.
Council members smiled as they voted in favour of the permit.
"If I could do the happy dance right now, I would," said Coun. Nelly Dever.
"It's exciting to see this moving forward," said Mayor Peter Milobar.
"It's a major project and there will probably be some tweaks, but it's a lot of extra health-care square footage being added to the community."
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