Aside from the grinning members of the government and their supporters who crammed into the present crumbling facility, it remains unclear if the new regional hospital will meet the needs of residents.
First of all, the public was not asked what we wanted or needed in a new hospital.
The government hired a company from Alberta to gather information and make recommendations about the kind of health facility it considered the region needed.
No doubt the engineering company, Stantec, got its marching orders from the provincial government about how much it wanted to spend and the experts did sit down with health professionals in the region for their views, but no one in charge seemed to think it was important to get opinions from those who will be depending on the hospital for their care.
All along there was plenty of talk about “right-sizing” the facility from politicians happy to grab onto a simplistic phrase that backed their argument. But many remain to be convinced the new hospital will adequately serve the needs of this vast region for the next several decades.
At Tuesday’s road show, it was announced that government would be investing $227 million over the next three years before construction begins in 2015, with $7 million of that in next week’s budget.
In a fluke of good timing, that would mean the steel would begin rising from the dirt just as the Dunderdale Tories are looking for votes in the general election that year.
Regardless, there’s a new health facility announced and a timeline set out — again. This happens to be the second or third iteration of the design and opening date.
Let’s hope the experts have it right and another government doesn’t come along and decide it doesn’t like what it sees and start over again.