The continual delays for the opening of the Kootenay Lake Hospital upgrade are frustrating. Originally slated for a ribbon cutting back in November, the $15-million addition is unlikely to see patients until September.
On the front page of Wednesday’s paper there’s a story about local MLA Michelle Mungall who voiced the concerns of many constituents in the Legislature. It’s the first time the frustrations have been publicly aired in Victoria.
We’ve been covering the plight of the hospital upgrade for many months. Each time a date comes and goes, we ask questions. Each time the Interior Health Authority provides answers lacking any real detail. In November it was the mechanical system. In January it was the “finishing” details with items like desks and smaller pieces of equipment on backorder. Earlier this month we found out there is an issue with the flooring. With every story the frustration builds in the community.
A multi-million dollar construction project is complex. Dozens of sub-contractors and more than 100 workers have toiled away at the hospital site over the last couple of years. When everything is working well, it’s like a finely tuned orchestra. Then there are the days when notes are missed and the trouble begins. From our view outside the glass exterior, it would appear there have been many days where execution has been less than perfect.
Are the delays normal? For anybody who has ever embarked on even the smallest home renovation, the answer is yes. In the case of the hospital, the amount of paperwork, standards and inspections is massive. There is too much at stake to cut corners or deliver a product that is imperfect.
So what are we supposed to do? Like our MLA, we want to find out who is going to be on the hook for the delays. Vague assurances from the Minister of Health have not provided the answers. Our guess is that it will be many months before it all gets sorted out.
When the ribbon is finally cut, the new wing of the hospital is going to be a source of tremendous pride for all community members. Unfortunately the pride bursting inside of us is going to have to be quelled until the scissors are finally drawn.