Hospital site decision delayed until next year

  • Nov. 28, 2007 7:00 p.m.

Northern Health likely won’t be making a decision about where to build the new south-end hospital until January, says board chair Charles Jago. The board had been hoping to make a decision this month, he said, but had to delay because an engineering study which examines the existing hospital site in Queen Charlotte and a site offered by Skidegate near the ferry terminal wasn’t ready in time for a meeting held last week. The board won’t be meeting again until January. “The decision of the board is to hold off on any decisions until that engineering report has been received,” Dr. Jago told the Observer in a telephone interview on Monday. The Skidegate Band Council had been scheduled to make a presentation to the board when it met last week in Vanderhoof, but cancelled that appearance after meeting with key Northern Health people at a teleconference in Vancouver earlier this month. Representatives from the village of Queen Charlotte attended the same teleconference meeting and made their pitch for keeping the hospital in its current location. Dr. Jago, who listened to the presentations from both communities, said Northern Health asked them what they thought of a “third option”, which he described as a process of working together and thinking laterally about how various health services could be offered from different locations in a way that would best serve the population. Skidegate and Queen Charlotte both responded by Monday to this proposal, but Dr. Jago said he couldn’t comment on what they said. Both letters are long and complex and he hadn’t had time to fully read them, he said. “We will try to resolve this issue if at all possible at our January board meeting,” Dr. Jago said. “We are committed to putting forward a proposal to government very soon.”