Health minister Adrian Dix announces the approved concept plan for a new Mills Memorial Hospital during a visit to Terrace in 2018 . (File photo)

Committee needed before names can be attached to new hospital

Opportunity to recognize local health care advocates

It’s going to be sometime yet before Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc’s request will be considered to have a wing or other physical portion of the new Mills Memorial Hospital named after the late Bill and Helen McRae.

Leclerc is pushing for the recognition, saying the McRaes, both of whom passed away last year, were instrumental in promoting and advocating for local health care.

Bill McRae’s involvement dated back to being part of a local group who donated the land in the late 1950s on which the current Mills sits and where the new one will be built.

And both McRaes were part of the group that formed the R.E.M. Lee Hospital Foundation in the late 198os and which has now become the prime body for accepting donations and raising money for the purchase medical equipment at Mills and Terraceview Lodge.

They were also vocal in advocating for the replacement of the current Mills at a time when the previous BC Liberal government seemed reluctant to give its approval.

But first, naming requests must wind their way through as many as five Northern Health officials supplemented by a local committee.

“The committee’s terms of reference, which includes who is on the committee, haven’t been developed yet,” said Northern Health official Andrea Palmer last week.

Naming requests can be tied to monetary or other donations but that is not required.

“For example, the request that part of the new hospital honour the McRaes, is not attached to a donation,” said Palmer.

The current Mills also has a multi-purpose room named after the late Vera Henry, who was a matriarch of one of the clans of the Kitsumkalum people.

“Areas of the current hospital that are named in honour of local people will be formally discussed and assessed as a part of this process as well,” said Palmer of naming considerations.

The Northern Health Authority has a 12-page naming policy document outlining the ins and outs of how people may be recognized.

It covers everything from naming physical structures to a particular program, to a piece of equipment to a research or other academic position.

And because the Northern Health Authority and hospitals come under the wing of the provincial government, the provincial health ministry must also give its approval to any name recognition that will be part of the new Mills.

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