Best Wishes

THE NEXT time you have the occasion to pass through the doors of Mills Memorial Hospital, you might want to give the walls a loving pat and wish the facility well.

THE NEXT time you have the occasion to pass through the doors of Mills Memorial Hospital, you might want to give the walls a loving pat and wish the facility well.

For chances are the hospital, the core of which dates to the mid-1950s and which is on the Northern Health Authority’s list for eventual replacement, will be with us for a long time.

At least that’s the impression given upon hearing a new hospital for Queen Charlotte City could cost as much as $60 million. That’s right –  $60 million for a facility which will have fewer services and beds then a new Mills. Health minister Mike de Jong did not sound confident as to when the Queen Charlotte hospital, which is in dreadful shape, would be replaced and looked even gloomier at the idea of finding the money.

After the Queen Charlotte project is finished, it will be the turn of Burns Lake and only then will a new Mills Memorial take shape.

All things considered, a new Mills could be as much as a decade away and who knows what the cost will be by then and whether that cost will be enough to delay construction.

As it is, the new 44-bed expansion at Terraceview Lodge cost $15 million and $300 million is being spent on a new hospital/residential care complex in Fort St. John.

It’s enough for taxpayers to stop thinking about a drop in the HST but instead start thinking of an increase to pay for health care.

This appears in the June 8, 2011 edition of the Terrace Standard.