Is anyone surprised the patient care tower is going ahead?

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
August 29, 2017 - 6:05am Updated: August 29, 2017 - 2:30pm

KAMLOOPS — Health Minister Adrian Dix’s announcement Monday that the Royal Inland Hospital patient care tower will go ahead as planned by the Liberals is good news.

But did anyone really think anything else would be the case?

"Clearly what's needed in Kamloops, on top of a lot of other things, is a new patient care tower," Dix told the media.

"Fortunately, we're on the path and we're going ahead. My instruction is, if there's anything I can do to make it happen quicker, I will."

Construction is scheduled to get underway in 2018 with a ribbon cutting in 2022.

There would have to be something drastically wrong with the books inherited from by the BC Liberals for this $417-million facility to be stopped in its tracks.

This isn’t a pipeline or a dam or even a mine. Nobody on the planet thinks improving health care is a bad idea.

If the NDP hopes to expand its base outside the Lower Mainland into the Interior (and, obviously, it does), supporting projects like this one is a necessity. It takes wind out of the sails of the hysterical anti-NDP element in this part of the province, and nullifies some political talking points from Kamloops’ two Liberal MLAs.

Fixing the doctor shortage is another challenge entirely, but it will be tough for the Liberals to blame the NDP government for something that developed over years of BC Liberal rule.

Dix played it smart on that, too, complementing the Liberals (and, indirectly, former health minister Terry Lake) for beefing up primary care facilities on the North Shore. That relieves him of the burden of having to promise something better.

But the NDP will have to show some progress on that doctor shortage.

In the meantime, he succeeded in taking the expansion of RIH away from the Liberals and making it his own commitment.