April 17, 2024

CPS

Travel Adventure

‘A perfect storm’; regional hospital board saddled with three major financial asks

2 min read

A new agreement allows the board to negotiate its share with the health authority.

“We are looking at 37 per cent for general and 35 per cent for the cancer centre and parkade,” regional hospital district chair Mike O’Reilly said. “We’re trying to walk a very fine line and it’s a balancing act.”

O’Reilly said the proposed increase is equivalent to just more than $10 per year.

“Where our pressures are coming from right now is we are still paying off the Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Tower and so we have a significant debt load that we are already carrying,” O’Reilly said. “But, at the same time, we aren’t going to say no to the province that, ‘No, we don’t want the parkade. We don’t want the cancer centre in Kamloops.’ And so those are things we have to juggle with as a board.”

While the taxation will need to be approved by the board during Thursday’s regular meeting, local MLA Peter Milobar feels it could add more pressure to government to act on the promised cancer centre in Kamloops.

“We still have a lot of concern that we don’t have a physical budget document with the project in it,” Milobar said. “But, I think it’s the responsible thing for the board to do, to make sure they have taxation in place hoping that it is there, so they don’t become the excuse if the government is looking for a way to get out of the project or delay it any further.”

The board will also be presented with cost over-runs at the new ER, totalling about $16 million, a figure O’Reilly says residents can’t afford.

“It’s a bit of a perfect storm is what we’ve run into,” he said. “We have the cancer centre potentially coming on board, we have a $16-million ask for a cost over-run for phase-two renovations and we also have larger-than-normal capital asks this year, to the tune of about $3 million more than normal.”

The board meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday.


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