.B.C. Liberals announced their plan to invest in Vanderhoof’s health care facilities including rebuilding St. John Hospital.
John Rustad, BC Liberals incumbent in the Nechako Lakes riding made the announcement Oct. 13 in-front of the St. John Hospital.
“Healthcare throughout Nechako Lakes is a big part of our communities. The hospitals obviously play a huge role. All the hospitals in the region were built at the same time, and are getting aged,” Rustad said in his first few opening lines.
Rustad said even though the Omineca Medical Clinic in Vanderhoof has served its purpose well, it is beyond it’s capacity.
“I am pleased to announce that the BC Liberal Government will work with the doctors and Northern Health to make sure we have a new facility for doctors to work in. Likely a combined facility under Northern Health’s umbrella,” he added.
This investment is being promised under the BC Liberals Rebuild BC plan, which includes an $8 Billion infrastructure program over three years to build schools, hospitals, transit and roads in the province, stated a news release.
Rustad even spoke about the Stuart Lake General Hospital in Fort St. James, and said BC Liberals would work on rebuilding that as well. Premier John Horgan had visited Fort St. James to make the announcement of the Stuart Lake General Hospital being upgraded in January this year. However, Rustad says he is concerned there is no line item in Horgan’s budget for the Fort St. James hospital.
Meanwhile, the BC Liberals candidate said his party will have a comprehensive plan for the hospital to be fully staffed, as that is one concern in Fort St. James.
Mayor Gerry Thiessen who was present at the announcement said,”We know that the health care professionals in the Vanderhoof area have been a hub and support for Fort St. James and Fraser Lake. And so to have a strong medical facility here is very important. We are very thankful to see the recognition this facility is receiving, for not only the people of Vanderhoof but the entire area.”
Jerry Petersen, Chair of the Hospital District for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako was also present at the announcement and he said, “This announcement is something we all look forward to in terms of good services in the area.”
“One of the main functions of the hospital district is to partner with the provincial government to help provide finance for building of our hospitals and facilities. Over a period of time, the innovation and technology changes. For the past 50 years since the hospital has been built, technology has changed an awful lot. And we need the facilities that will support these technologies. We always welcome good announcements for good facilities.”
Editor’s note: Rustad mentioned there is no line item in the NDP budget for the Stuart Lake Hospital in Fort St. James. A resident, Brenda Gouglas, pointed out that there is a line item for the hospital in the NDP budget which is accessible in the BC NDP budget here