Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo Regional Hospital District board approves budget, eyes major projects

Potential future capital projects include $1-billion patient tower at NRGH

With a new $1-billion hospital patient tower listed as a potential future expense, Nanaimo Regional Hospital District’s board debated tax increases that could provide funding for the project.

A 2021 district provisional draft budget went before the board at its Dec. 8 meeting, and an Island Health draft capital plan estimates $2.6 billion in projects through 2035. Among the tax requisition options listed were raising the rate, currently $16.13 per $100,000 of assessed value, to $21.15, $35 per or $50.

The replacement tower was listed as a priority investment funding item for 2026, with the district on the hook for $420 million. Leanne Salter, Coombs-area director, said she couldn’t support an increase to $50. She noted that a previous estimate for a patient tower was $450 million, and said that kind of fluctuation should concern board members.

“We have fiduciary responsibility as elected people, and I think in that regard, we need to take a lot of care while making these decisions…” she said. “It isn’t saying that we don’t need health care, we obviously know we do, but there’s changes that also need to occur and picking it up at the local level over and over, especially these kinds of numbers, are a little disconcerting for me.”

Leonard Krog, Nanaimo mayor and director, said he favoured the $50 per option, saying it’s better to begin saving now.

“I think we have to demonstrate the political courage to acknowledge this money is going to have to be raised in due course and I would rather wear the political heat for it then pass it on to some future members of the regional district board,” said Krog. “The need for health care is not going to diminish. COVID-19 has shown how quickly we can reach the limits of our hospital and I just think it’s the right thing to do for a whole series of reasons.”

Ed Mayne, Parksville mayor and director, voiced concern that none of the projects had been approved, and were “a wish list from Island Health.”

Sheryl Armstrong, Nanaimo director, said the costs should be borne by the province.

“There’s very many cities that don’t pay into the hospitals,” said Armstrong. “That’s what we have the provincial and federal taxes for. Health under the constitution is responsibility of the province and once again, they’ve dumped it down to municipalities and regional districts to bail them out … for me, I don’t think we should be putting any dollars into the hospitals and let the province do what they’re paid to do, which is support the hospitals 100 per cent.”

The board approved a provisional budget with an increase to $21.15 per $100,000, which the Regional District of Nanaimo said in a press release is an increase equivalent to $113.52 for an average home.

An RDN press release noted that the provincial govermment covers 60 per cent of capital projects in the health district, with the region covering the other 40 per cent.

Among other potential major items on the capital project list are a high-acuity unit for 2023, with a total estimated price tag of $15 million, of which the hospital district’s share would be $6 million. For 2021, long-term care beds estimated at $122 million is a notable item, with the district on the hook for about $50 million of that.

The provisional budget will be reviewed on Feb. 23 by a hospital district committee, with board adoption scheduled for March 9, said the RDN.

While the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District board is comprised of RDN directors, it is a separate body and provides annual capital money to Island Health, the RDN said in the release.

RELATED: RDN board gets started on 2021 budgeting decisions

RELATED: Hospital foundation starts $5M campaign for new ICU



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

HospitalsNanaimo Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo’s NRGH

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All seniors in long-term care on the Island will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
UPDATE: Snowfall warning issued for Nanaimo area, up to 5 cm forecast

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
New positive COVID-19 case at Nanaimo care home, where outbreak was declared

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence employee is isolating, says Island Health

Emergency crews were called to a semi-truck crash along the Trans-Canada Highway at Oyster Sto’Lo Road on Friday, Jan. 22. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Semi truck crashes off the side of the highway in Ladysmith

Driver taken to hospital as precaution after single-vehicle crash Friday

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
RDN Transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Actions of Vancouver Island RCMP emergency response team members prevented a potential head-on collision accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 19, says Nanaimo RCMP. (News Bulletin file)
Eight cars evade vehicle driving on wrong side of highway, says Nanaimo RCMP

Incident occurred near Trans-Canada Highway-Morden Road intersection earlier this week

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a hatchback and a taxi minivan at the intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets on Friday afternoon. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver hurt as taxi and hatchback crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened Friday at intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Most Read