Terrace Mayor Carol LeClerc, seated on the left, with Bill and Helene McRae at the Oct. 4, 2019 opening of the Kitsumgallum Cemetery lookout. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Terrace Mayor Carol LeClerc, seated on the left, with Bill and Helene McRae at the Oct. 4, 2019 opening of the Kitsumgallum Cemetery lookout. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Wing at new hospital should be named after prominent couple, says Terrace mayor

Bill and Helene McRae were instrumental in promoting health care

A wing or other distinct feature at the new Mills Memorial Hospital should be named after Bill and Helene McRae, says Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc.

Both passed away last year and Leclerc said there can be no more fitting tribute to the couple then having their involvement in local health care acknowledged in such a fashion.

“It was Bill who helped organize the purchase of the land on which the current hospital sits and where the new one will be built and then donated it,” said Leclerc.

That land purchase in the late 1950s lead to the opening of the current Mills in 1961.

“He and Helene have both had a tremendous influence on health care in Terrace and keeping the issue at the forefront,” she added.

The couple were instrumental in setting up the REM Lee Hospital Foundation in the late 1980s. Its first effort was to raise money for a CT scan machine and since then the foundation has been the prime vehicle in the Terrace area to raise money through its own efforts or accept donations for the purchase of medical equipment at Mills Memorial and Terraceview Lodge.

Bill McRae passed away in August of last year and Helene McRae died last October.

In 2016, when the B.C. Liberal provincial government resisted local calls to replace Mills, the McRaes responded by sending a letter to Premier Christy Clark.

“Now we need the province to show a priority on the replacement of our hospital. We need the province to show leadership, to recognize the urgent need for modern heath care in the northwest and to place a priority on the replacement of our hospital,” a portion of the letter read.

A replacement was announced the spring of 2017 with a business plan approved two years later calling for a new Mills and a new Seven Sisters mental health residential facility at a cost of $447.5 million.

Leclerc, in her capacity as mayor, sits on a Northern Health committee made up of local representatives formed to give advice on issues pertaining to the new Mills.

“That’s where I put that forward,” she said of having a wing named after the McRaes.

She’s now waiting for Northern Health to respond.

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