RIH plan positively received
It’s a plan for the hospital, so it only made sense to hold an open house on the future growth of Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) in its lobby.
Dozens of residents and hospital staff perused a model of the future RIH on Tuesday, July 19, as part of its master site plan.
RIH administrator Marg Brown noted the feedback from people stopping by the lobby was “very positive.
“A lot of excitement from people,” she said, adding the purpose of the open house was to give staff and the community a look at the master plan and further explain how it will be rolled out.
A new multi-storey surgical tower and a new multi-storey parkade are the two main priorities in the plan, which was released on July 12 and had been about a year in the making.
The site plan reflects anticipated program needs and demographics for the next 15 years and into the future.
About 70 people stopped by in the first two hours of the open house, while some filled out comment sheets.
Brown said the biggest questions surround the time frame for when the projects will be built.
She had earlier indicated RIH officials are building an internal business case for the two projects included for consideration in next year’s capital-budget process.
The parkade would have about 300 stalls.
There are now 596 parking spots on Royal Inland Hospital property — 365 in the rear parkade and 231 surface spaces.
In addition, the IHA leases 322 off-site stalls near the hospital, but a report stated the health authority wants to review the lease set-up as “it loses considerable potential monthly revenue from the leased stalls.”
The surgical and inpatient tower would ideally be built next to the laboratory building on the east side of the hospital, while the parkade would ideally be situated in front of RIH, at the Columbia Street and Third Avenue entrance— the very site that was the focal point of a controversy last decade, culminating in a successful campaign to save the mature trees that now stand at the hospital’s entrance.
Brown noted concerns around the trees were not an issue at the open house.
By 2016, according to the report, the hospital will need an additional 60 beds — 22 medical, nine surgical, four adult mental health, two pediatric mental health, two maternity, one pediatric, three intensive care and eight rehabilitation.
In addition to site access and surgical capacity, the need to redesign and expand the inpatient unit and increase the focus on ambulatory care were also identified as key parts of the plan.
The report also noted the possibility of eventually demolishing the Alumnae tower.
The model will be on display in the main floor lobby area to view until today (July 22).