Hospital expansion to benefit economy

An expansion to the aging Penticton Regional Hospital would provide a boost to the region’s economy.

An expansion to the aging Penticton Regional Hospital would provide a boost to the region’s economy as well as an improvement in health care.

The ambulatory care tower at the hospital has a projected cost of $300 million, with 60 per cent of the funding to come from the province and the rest from regional taxpayers and the local hospital foundation.

Mayor Janice Perrino, who  is also the chair of the Regional Hospital District for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and the executive director of the South Okanagan Medical Foundation., said the expansion is badly needed.

“The hospital is desperately outdated and needs to be expanded,” she said. “This was built before televisions were in our homes.”

At its peak, the expansion would provide 600 jobs. Once it is completed, the hospital would need to attract skilled, trained people to fill technical jobs resulting from the project.

Around 40 per cent of the jobs will come from outside of Penticton.

Perrino said she will work to ensure the hospital tower will be constructed now that the provincial election is over.

“It’s what is right for our region,” she said of the expansion.