Small tax hike approved to build reserves for Royal Inland Hospital

The 1.5 per cent hike in hospital tax will amount to an increase of $2.64 for the average household (assessed at $338,000) in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and is collected alongside property taxes

The Thompson-Nicola Hospital Board has approved a 1.5 per cent increase to next year’s hospital tax in order to build up reserves for expansion of Royal Inland Hospital.

It amounts to an increase of $2.64 for the average household (assessed at $338,000) in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and is collected alongside property taxes.

article continues below

On Thursday morning, the board reviewed the 2020 provisional budget. Expenditures in 2020 are expected to be higher than this year as a result of $53 million to be paid toward Royal Inland Hospital’s patient-care tower, which is under construction. The $417-million project is being funded by the province ($225 million), hospital district ($172 million) and Royal Inland Hospital Foundation ($20 million).

TNRD CAO Sukh Gill told the board reserves will be drawn upon significantly over the next three years. He said he is also looking a decade down the road, when a third phase of hospital expansion could occur. 

“The more we can try to save, the less future borrowing and less taxation increase that will have to happen,” Gill said.

Meanwhile, Interior Health health services administrator Tracey Rannie told KTW the tower is due to be completed by the summer of 2022. 

“In the winter and spring of 2020, we’ll start dialogue of the renovation part of it,” Rannie said. “That’s the emergency department, post-anaesthetic, the morgue — that conversation. We’ll start planning for that. Those renovations will be fully completed in 2024.”

A master site plan of Royal Inland Hospital envisions a third tower. However, Rannie said, no planning is yet underway.

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian told the board he is pushing for planning for the third tower to begin during construction of the patient-care tower, noting it is a significant time investment. He and other members also stressed the importance of hospital parking, as RIH cares for patients from throughout the region, not just Kamloops.

The patient-care tower is expected to increase parking by about 100 stalls, including underground parking and a site above St. Ann’s Academy, in a location currently occupied by Children’s Circle Daycare (which will eventually move to a new site a few blocks east, in the Sagebrush neighbourhood).

The idea of a parkade was floated, though challenges include weighing the value of increased health services versus the need to park vehicles.

© Kamloops This Week

 


KTW Daily News Alerts
KAMLOOPS WEATHER

Question of the Week POLL

Amid the pandemic, what are your summer plans?

or  view results

Popular Kamloops This Week

Events Calendar

Help Us Help Kamloops. Support Local Media.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Kamloops This Week is now soliciting donations from readers. This program is designed to support our local journalism in a time where our advertisers are unable to due to their own economic constraints. Kamloops This Week has always been a free product and will continue to be free. This is a means for those who can afford to support local media to help ensure those who can’t afford to can get access to trusted local information. You can make a one-time or a monthly donation of any amount and cancel at any time .

NEW: For every donation of $25 or greater, we will offer a digital advertising package to the local non-profit group of your choice.

Click on https://support.kamloopsthisweek.com for more information or to make your donation.

Thank you in advance for your support.