Council wants banner hung at hospital

Penticton City Council  has approved sending a letter to Interior Health Authority requesting to hang a banner promoting expansion on the hospital campus.

The council is taking the action as a show of support for doctors at Penticton Regional Hospital, who have been leading a campaign to get much needed upgrades.

“Things can become self-serving, and we don’t want it to appear that way, but it is our responsibility to support this project and help as much as we can,” said Councillor Wes Hopkin, who presented the idea at Monday’s meeting.

The banner, which reads “Penticton Hospital Expansion Now!, prhtower.ca has been making the rounds.

Last week it made an appearance at the doctors’ town hall meeting. City staff then hung it on an overpass over Channel Parkway.

The letter is expected to go out to Interior Health this week.

“We want to keep the momentum going, and we want to make sure the business case works, because we are dealing with a hospital built in the 1950s,” said Mayor Dan Ashton.

Hopkin said he hopes there will be a quick response.

“Time is of the essence here,” he said.

There has been a flurry of activity since the doctors held the meeting last week attended by around 750 people. Premier Christy Clark then made a surprise visit to the hospital Friday morning to show her support.

Doctors sent a letter out to her Feb. 17 saying they were glad she toured the facility but that her level of commitment to the proposed patient care tower is unacceptable.

Today, they will be keeping an eye on what happens with the provincial budget.

The total cost of the proposed four story ambulatory care tower is $300 million. The Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District Board has agreed to fund $120 million and the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation will fund $20 million. That leaves $160 million needed from the province.

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