Waters: Kelowna a big beneficiary of healthcare spending in B.C.

Local healthcare officials deserve much of the credit for the mountain of money spend to improve facilities here in recent years.

When the last brick is laid, the finishing touch is applied and the doors swing open on the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre at Kelowna General Hospital in 2015, the hospital will have suffered through seven straight years of construction.

But when you have been the recipient of the better part of nearly $1 billion in government spending to expand, improve and add services, can you call it suffering?

The work done at KGH since 2008—and for that matter in the 10 years before that as well—has put the hospital on the provincial map when it comes to health care. Now the top tertiary care facility in the Interior, it includes most of the services available in the Lower Mainland and the Victoria.

Since the mid-1990s it has had a cancer clinic, medical school, and new laboratory and clinical support buildings added, as well as a six-storey tower, expanded departments and hospital infrastructure. Now it’s getting a state-of-the art heart centre, making it just the fifth facility in the province where full heart surgery will be offered.

While its critics can fault the Liberal government for its management of the province over the last 11 years, it is hard to make that case when taking about health care spending here.

Recently, work started on the painstaking demolishing of the oldest part of KGH, the Pandosy Building, to make room for the heart centre.

Thanks to sturdy construction, as well as the fact it is attached to a hospital that does not have the luxury of closing down during the demolition, the Pandosy Building has to be nibbled away at piece by piece. No imploding, no explosions.

The IHSC, originally slated to cost more than $400 million and be finished in 2017, is now to be delivered 18 months early and at a cost of $364 million, all thanks to some creative design work.

Putting aside the province’ puzzling move not to accept millions of free money from the regional hospital district to build a third floor, the new two-storey building will help push KGH to a level on par with the major hospitals in the Lower Mainland.

But while credit will likely be taken by the politicians—especially as a provincial election nears—the real credit should go to the men and women who work at, and in some cases have now retired from, KGH.

Not only are they the ones who came up with the plans, made the case to government, guided the work and continue to do their “other” jobs at KGH, they are the ones who have worked through the construction knowing their vision for the future will make this community better.

For many of us three years may seem like a long time. But for KGH, after four years of construction another three is just a blip on the radar screen. Truth be told, plans are already being drawn up for the future needs of the hospital.

Like building roads, as soon as one is finished, work on the next one starts. It’s how we get from here to there—even in health care.

Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.

Kelowna Capital News

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

Just Posted

Canada Post has moved up parcel delivery deadlines within Canada in response to unprecedented holiday demand during COVID-19 but is still telling Canadians to expect delays. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Mail suspended at Kelowna condo after mask-less residents spotted in lobby

Residents were asked to pick up their mail at Canada Post’s office on Baillie Avenue

A woman was struck by a vehicle in the Costco Parking lot just before 12 p.m. on April 28, 2020. (File)
Kelowna council expedites road improvements in anticipation of new Costco

Highway 97 and Leckie Road improvements to cost $1.14 million, costs split between the city, Costco and the province

Third Space Charity Executive Director, Karen Mason (middle) with Garry Wittich (Director of Giving and Projects) and Melissa Hunt (President) from West Kelowna Daybreak Rotary presenting a cheque. (Photo contributed by Third Space Canada)
Mental wellness support for young adults in West Kelowna

Third Space Life, West Kelowna Daybreak Rotary provide young adults mental wellness support

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
Alleged drug-impaired driver cruises down Kelowna sidewalk

Kelowna RCMP take an impaired driver off of city streets after a tip from a concerned citizen

Cash seized in a 2018 RCMP drug bust in the Lower Mainland. (Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP-led drug investigation nets charges for 4 in Lower Mainland

Cops seized 12 kilograms of MDMA and $380K executing several search warrants in the Lower Mainland in 2018

Volunteers at the West Kelowna Salvation Army were celebrated with a special treat on Monday. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Central Okanagan community organizations celebrate volunteers

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week and non-profits are highlighting the people who put in the work

A lit cigarette tossed from a passing car is believed to be the cause of a grass fire which was only held to a ditch by the quick action of passersby in Salmon Arm on April 19. (Pixabay image)
Passersby fight Salmon Arm roadside grass fire believed started by flicked cigarette

Dry conditions prompt warning from resident, fire department

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Police are seeking the public’s assistance identifying a man who allegedly robbed a Vernon business the evening of Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (RCMP photo)
Police search for man who allegedly robbed Vernon business with weapon

The suspect is said to have threatened an employee before running off with two bottles of liquor

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

This cougar alert was posted near Chilliwack after a cougar was reported in the area on April 10, 2021. (Black Press - File)
Dog killed by cougar near Penticton

The band issued a warning to keep an eye on children and pets in the area

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton ready to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to authorize legal action

Most Read