Hospital administrator Cormac Hikisch and chief medical imaging technologist Andrea Bradford go over renovation plans in August. (Cassidy Muir photo)

Hospital administrator Cormac Hikisch and chief medical imaging technologist Andrea Bradford go over renovation plans in August. (Cassidy Muir photo)

Smithers council reverses CT scan vote

Council unanimously waives all off-site works for hospital renovation, project delayed 4-8 weeks.

Pipes, drainage and sidewalk improvements will not get in the way of a CT scanner in Smithers.

Smithers council unanimously reneged on forcing Northern Health to build some of the off-site works required under Bylaw 1800 in order to renovate Bulkley Valley District Hospital to put in a CT scanner.

The gallery was packed and overflowing into the foyer with people hoping the three councillors and mayor who voted against waiving the full costs would change their minds.

They did, with Mayor Taylor Bachrach making the motion Tuesday evening to bring back Coun. Frank Wray’s motion to waive all costs. He did this after Northern Health made it clear to him — as they did via letter before the first vote — that the project was still at risk if the requirement to build some of the off-site works was not removed.

“Northern Health is very pleased about, and thankful to the Town of Smithers for, the decision to grant the building permit variance for this important project. NH had clearly communicated to municipal officials that the bylaw issue presented challenges that might have a negative impact on our ability to deliver the project, and put the project at risk,” read a response from Northern Health communications officer Eryn Collins.

She added that planning can now continue with the next phase of construction, but with the initial pause there has been about a four- to eight-week impact on the project timeline.

Collins said Northern Health is optimistic that the CT scanner can now be in service by about June 2019.

The original motion made at the last meeting waived some of the costs, which saw Northern Health pausing the project the next day to review the financial implications.

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