New laundry plant won’t necessarily be built in Kelowna

Interior Health says a new private hospital laundry facility will be built in the Okanagan, but not necessarily in Kelowna.

Interior Health says a new private hospital laundry facility will be built in the Okanagan, but not necessarily in Kelowna as reported last week.

“The exact location of Ecotex’s laundry plant has not yet been determined, but it is our understanding it will be located in the Okanagan,” Interior Health said in a prepared statement.

The new facility is expected to open in mid-2017 and have 90 to 100 full-time unionized jobs.

Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service Inc. has signed a 20-year contract with the health authority that will result in the privatization of hospital laundries in Nelson, Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, and Kamloops. It will mean 17 people out of work in Nelson and the loss of 93 full-time equivalent public sector positions overall.

A publicist for Ecotex said president and CEO Randy Bartsch is out of the country and unavailable for interviews, but issued a statement on his behalf.

“We are a proud Canadian company based in Abbotsford with operations in Canada and across the western United States,” Bartsch said. “We are always looking at opportunities to expand and bring our eco-friendly approach to the health care sector. We are excited to be in the Okanagan, investing in the region and creating local jobs.”

Bartsch’s parents started Ecotex Inc. in 1959 in Abbotsford as a commercial laundry and dry-cleaning business. It’s now known as Ecotex Heathcare Linen Service Inc., and remains based in BC. A sister company, Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service Corp., was established in 1974 in Washington state and is based in Seattle, although it is also Canadian-owned.

The two companies have a single website, which until last week indicated Ecotex was Seattle-based, but that notation has since been deleted. Management, including Bartsch, are listed with Seattle phone numbers.

Bartsch said given the company’s recent growth in Canada which included the announcement last week that it has reached an agreement to acquire Booth Centennial Healthcare Linen Services in Greater Toronto it will create a parallel website for its Canadian operations.

Ecotex expanded into contract health care laundry in 1982 and has provided services to Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, Provincial Health Services, and Providence Health Care. It also has clients in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.

The move to contract out laundry services has been blasted by the Hospital Employees’ Union, which represents the soon-to-be-laid off workers, and Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall.

Interior Health says the move will save $35 million over the life of the contract.

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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Not business as usual as Nelson slowly reopens

Local owners talk about the pandemic has changed how they operate

City of Nelson takes over farmers’ markets from EcoSociety

Markets start June 13 and will be run by the Nelson and District Youth Centre

Nelson offers financing for homeowners to purchase electric bikes

Loan payments will be applied to hydro bills as part of the EcoSave home retrofit program

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Columbia Basin Trust expands programming to support businesses

The revised programs will help local businesses to reopen and modify operations

Most Read