Announcement comes up short

Resident concerned about funding levels for the hospital project

I picked up my newspaper recently and noticed that the funds have been granted to complete the two top floors of the Polson tower just before an election of course, which is just par for this province.

Then, I read the entire article and thought, “Well the Liberals couldn’t even get this right.”

Government funds have been approved for $22 million to open 14 new beds (60 beds total), but the cost is actually $29.6 million, assuming the project is on budget.

The community is expected to find the $7.6 million construction shortfall.

Well, actually it is more than that.

We also have not received approval for annual operating costs for 14 new beds, which is going to be close to another $7.5 million.

One must ask who will contribute to the $7.6 million construction shortfall?

The answer is the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation and the North Okanagan-Columbia-Shuswap Regional Hospital District become the source of funding. Who is that you ask?

Why, the NOCSRHD is the group that raises your property taxes, under the category of RDNO Hospital on your tax assessment for property owners in North Okanagan and the Columbia-Shuswap.

You, the taxpayer, then becomes responsible for the shortfall for construction.

Please note that the plans in newspaper do not show operating rooms, so this expansion is unlikely to have a serious impact on the surgical wait times.

Here is the bottom line. We are only getting 14 new beds and a big fat bill.

Yes, we need these beds but the Liberals need to go back to the drawing board and come back with a proposal that is realistic and which does not dramatically increase the tax burden for the residents of this community.

This is typical of the Liberals’ financing initiatives.

To Mr. Foster, you need to go back and negotiate a reasonable solution if you want to be credible.

Janet Green

Lumby