Given the choice between an Interior Health presentation on planning for hospital replacements and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, regional hospital district directors were almost evenly split last week.
A meeting of the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District in Castlegar fell two directors short of reaching quorum, as only 14 of 30 came.
Chair Marguerite Rotvold of Midway says oddly enough, many who did show up had the furthest to travel.
She says there was discussion about postponing the meeting when it became clear it would conflict with the Vancouver-Boston showdown, but they went ahead anyway.
“We did try to look at having it earlier in the day, the next day, or next week,” she says. However, the Interior Health delegation was not available.
“Monday and Tuesday it was a battle [among directors]. In fact, I thought I had quorum at 1 o’clock on Wednesday. Then 2, 3 o’clock, some directors decided not to come.”
By then, the five-member delegation, including acute care services vice-president Allan Sinclair and chief financial officer Donna Lommer was en route, while Rotvold was at a workshop in Christina Lake.
The lack of numbers didn’t stop the presentation from proceeding unofficially.
“I went around the table and asked the directors if they wanted to hear it,” Rotvold says. “They said yes.”
A copy of the presentation, which discussed the long-term evaluation process for facility replacement, was later sent to all directors.
Rotvold says it could take 2½ to three years just to reach the planning stage.
“This is the process they follow for all areas, but in this area they would look at the Nelson and Trail hospitals and assess them for age and other factors,” she says. “Can they change the current facilities to adapt to future needs?”
They would also consult physicians, other staff, and the public, she adds.
Interior Health is expected to discuss the issue this fall and decide whether to start the process now or wait another year.
• The hospital board, comprised of directors from the regional districts of Central Kootenay and Kootenay Boundary and responsible for funding 40 per cent of capital upgrades to local hospitals, won’t meet again until September.
At that time, they’re expected to be in Nelson to coincide with the completion of renovations to the first floor of Kootenay Lake Hospital.
This story will appear in this week’s West Kootenay Advertiser.