A recent report released by Interior Health found that Kootenay Lake hospital has a significant infrastructure deficit. It estimates it would cost $30 million to make the facility as good as new.

Report on hospital repair costs called staggering

Nelson Mayor John Dooley says learning the actual cost involved — $30 million to make the building good as new — was a wake-up call.

Nelson’s mayor isn’t surprised that an Interior Health study finds Kootenay Lake hospital has a significant infrastructure deficit.

But John Dooley, who is also the city’s representative on the West Kootenay Boundary regional hospital district, says learning the actual cost involved — $30 million to make the building good as new — was “a wake-up call” that felt “like a sledgehammer.”

“We’ve got some serious challenges ahead of us,” he says. “We probably knew in the back of our minds that work needed to be done but now we have numbers attached and it’s staggering.”

The study, made public last week, looked at acute and residential care facilities throughout the region. It assessed the age and estimated replacement value of each building, along with the level of renovations required.

Kootenay Lake hospital, built in 1957, is worth $63.3 million, meaning it would cost about half as much to renovate as to replace — not including any expansion of footprint or equipment.

However, Dooley was optimistic its shortcomings could be addressed: “Nothing’s impossible if you have a plan. It will take political will and a long-term commitment, but it can be done.”

He also said that despite the amount of work required, it’s not as though Kootenay Lake hospital has been neglected, pointing to the new emergency room that opened last year.

Interior Health declined to comment on the report until it’s discussed at a hospital district meeting scheduled for tonight in Castlegar.

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