Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall told the Minister of Health last week that taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for the Kootenay Lake Hospital delays.
Mungall questioned Michael de Jong in the legislature after it was announced earlier this month that the hospital would be delaying the opening of the new emergency room and diagnostic imaging floors.
“To have made such a major mistake in terms of the flooring… People are asking questions in my community. I think they’re fair questions, and this is one of the questions that they’re asking. Is this something that was avoidable? If so, who’s responsible?” asked Mungall.
According to a press release from the MLA, de Jong said the Interior Health Authority has primary responsibility for this project. While he said the cost overrun will be covered through a combination of the project’s contingency fund and warranty, he was not able to give an exact figure of what the total cost would be.
The expansion project at the hospital was originally announced in April 2009. The grand opening of the new emergency room has been delayed four times.
“You know, if there was one delay, I don’t think anybody in my community would ask this question, but there have been several delays. What is that going to mean for Kootenay Lake Hospital? What is that going to mean for the community, and what can we anticipate next?” Mungall asked the minister. “Will we get a ribbon-cutting ceremony this fall, or will there be another day?”
According to the press release de Jong could not guarantee that this will be the final delay for the project.