Opinion

Our take: It’s a little early for urgency in CDH replacement

When we talk to people around the community about the new Cowichan District Hospital, one response seems to come up more frequently than any other:

Why can’t they just keep it where it is?

Cowichan Hospital District chairman Rob Hutchins answers that question on page six. To summarize, the site is smaller and more sloped than what is ideal; the existing building has too many structural flaws; and construction would wreak havoc on hospital operations for four or five years.

In other words, any savings in dollars and personal comfort realized by remaining at the Gibbins Road site are going to be offset by technical difficulties and health care disruption.

The Island Health master site plan conducted a few years ago suggests the powers-that-be look elsewhere for a property, and the powers-that-be seem on board.

The one question that seems to be hanging is: are you?

Because we haven’t seen a whole lot of public consultation on this conclusion. And shouldn’t you ultimately have a say?

To be clear, Hutchins makes a good case.

As fond as we are of the current CDH, we’d rather build a hospital designed to meet our needs for the next 50 years than force a facsimile of the same onto a property that it doesn’t fit. And we’d like to see it built on a property that will allow for future expansion along the way.

A farmer’s field near the intersection of Highway 18 and Highway 1 makes a lot of sense.

But it is a little early in the process for urgency in acquiring new land when most of us are still coming to terms with the idea that letting go of the old site is actually a good idea.

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