The maternity ward at BVDH has recently been renovated, along with other recent upgrades to the facility but there are calls for the hospital to be replaced.                                 (File photo)

The maternity ward at BVDH has recently been renovated, along with other recent upgrades to the facility but there are calls for the hospital to be replaced. (File photo)

Motion passes to start long Bulkley Valley District Hospital replacement process

Smithers mayor forms hospital board motion to make new hospital a priority for Smithers.

The Bulkley Valley District Hospital is now officially on Northern Health’s radar to be replaced.

This comes after Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach made a motion at the last Northwest Regional Hospital Board meeting to make the hospital next in line to be replaced. He said it was important to him to make the motion because things have always been talked about but nothing has ever been put in writing.

“My motion was a bit of a formality. There is a ton of planning that needs to be done before we see a new hospital in Smithers, including the replacement of Mills Memorial [in Terrace] but master planning will take place this fall and that is the first step in the long process of hospital replacement.”

The rest of the board unanimously voted in favour of his motion.

“It is a priority of the hospital district, which is made up of local governments,” he added.

“Our motion does not indicate the provincial government’s priority. Obviously, hospital replacements are decisions of the Province. We will as a board articulate our priorities to Northern Health and the ministry [of health] but the order in which hospitals get replaced is a ministry’s decision.”

Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins confirmed that Northern Health will begin a master planning process in Smithers later this year.

“Master plan work would eventually form the basis for development of a concept plan, which (in general) would outline things like whether renovation, new construction or replacement is the best approach for a given facility,” she said in an email to The Interior News.

“In terms of the process, concept plans are submitted to government for approval to proceed to the business planning stage, and (with additional approvals and funding in place) eventually procurement and construction.”

Recently, the maternity ward has been renovated, a CT scanner is going in and a digital mammography machine has been installed at BVDH.

Bachrach added the facility continues to meets the needs as a community, for now.

“It is an older hospital, it has seen a lot of upgrades and renovations over the years but it does also have deficiencies. Looking down the road, it will need replacing. It is a long-term process and we want to start the process before the situation becomes more critical. We need to plan in advance and make sure we are able to continue to see the needs of the community in the future,” he said.

Despite a new hospital in Smithers being a far away goal at this point, Bachrach is excited about the Mills Memorial Hospital project.

“That is a hospital replacement that affects Smithers in a big way. A lot of the services that will be available in the new facility will be used by Bulkley Valley residents and with it being a level 3 trauma centre, it is an important facility for the whole Northwest. It will improve outcomes for everyone in the region,” he said.

The original request for a new hospital in Terrace was made in 2010. In 2012, master planning got underway with concept planning starting in 2013. A concept plan was first received by government in April 2014. An updated concept plan was submitted to the provincial government in October 2017. A business plan phase was announced in February and is now underway to finalize details, which takes approximately 12 to 18 months.

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

Just Posted

Dave Livesey, right, has been elected as Telkwa councillor defeating Klaus Kraft (middle) and Erik Jacobsen. (Interior News composite photo)
Dave Livesey elected to Telkwa council

Livesey received 60 votes to Klaus Kraft’s 51 and Erik Jacobsen’s 34 in preliminary results

Smithers Local Health Area reported just one new case of COVID-19 from Feb. 14-20. (BC CDC graphic)
Local weekly COVID infections drop to one

The Smithers Local Health Area (Houston to Witset) reported a single case between Feb. 14 and20

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Smithers Weekly Police Blotter: Feb 12 – 19

Smithers RCMP open 83 new files including 15 property crime cases

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

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

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read