Local politicians keeping mum on Northern Health’s offer to facilitate south-end hospital decision

  • Nov. 21, 2007 3:00 p.m.

Northern Health has offered to bring in a facilitator to help Queen Charlotte and Skidegate reach agreement about where the new hospital will be built, according to spokesperson Mark Karjaluoto. The two communities, located about seven kilometres apart, both want the hospital and have been lobbying hard to get it. At a meeting earlier in the month in Vancouver, representatives from each village made separate presentations to Northern Health, outlining the advantages of each site. Queen Charlotte would like to see the new hospital built where the existing hospital now stands, right in the middle of town. Skidegate has offered an elevated site on the boundary between the two villages, near the ferry landing and across the highway from the new Qay’llnagaay Heritage Centre. “We’ve been having discussions with them for several months,” Mr. Karjaluoto said. “We want them to sit down and work it out between the communities.” Northern Health wants a solution which will meet the health care needs of all south-end residents, he said. Then, last Friday (Nov. 16) Northern Health executives offered to have a facilitator help sort out the location issue. At the moment, Northern Health is waiting to hear back from Queen Charlotte and Skidegate about whether they are prepared to work with a facilitator, Mr. Karjaluoto said. At Queen Charlotte council on Monday evening, Mayor Carol Kulesha told the Observer that she did not have any comments on Northern Health’s offer to facilitate. She also said that she is waiting for the results of an independent engineering study of both sites, commissioned by Northern Health. Ms Kulesha also said she knows as much as anyone else what the process will be from this point forward. Skidegate Band Chief Councillor Willard Wilson was not available for comment as we went to press Tuesday, but he is expected to make a presentation in favour of the Skidegate site to the Northern Health Board when it meets in Vanderhoof today (Nov. 22).Meanwhile, Northern Health chief executive Cathy Ulrich sent a memo out to staff and physicians on November 15, attempting to clarify the hospital site process and responding to an Observer article which quoted representatives from Skidegate and Queen Charlotte. It reads, in part: “There has been media discussion of a ‘third option’ which would allegedly involve splitting health services between Queen Charlotte and Skidegate. We did in fact discuss the possibility of a third option, but the media report of this process is not entirely accurate. “Our goal with the third option is to consult the communities and health professionals in the area. We want to facilitate a discussion which leads to a reasonable solution for the communities and health care providers. “We don’t have a preconceived notion of what services or sites would go to each community; our goal is to find a solution that meets the health needs of both communities, NH staff and physicians. “We don’t yet know when the recommendation of a specific site may roll out. Our approach for the time being is to listen and try to reach a solution. While both villages are eager to have the replace facility in their community, we will need them to work with us and with each other.”

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii gets top spot in The World

It was already a nice Christmas present, but Keith Moore was really… Continue reading

McNeill fined again for illegal fishing

A local man with a long history of poaching has been convicted… Continue reading

Painting her way home

Janine Gibbons talks about all she learned illustrating Haida and Tlingit story books

Old Massett taps grassroots for community plan

Over coffee, kitchen tables, and community dinners, Old Massett is taking a… Continue reading

Subsea internet cable to link up Haida Gwaii

Cable to connect Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast with mainland network

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

A look at potential Canadian nominees for this year’s Oscars

The nominations are to be revealed Tuesday morning for the 90th Academy Awards

Complaint against Prince George RCMP in death of Wet’suwet’en man

Thirty-five year old Dale Culver died while in Prince George RCMP custody last summer.

B.C. expert weighs in on why kids are eating Tide pods for fun

Why are kids taking part in something completely pointless yet so risky?

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Most Read