Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville over budget and maybe late

Vancouver Island Health Authority hesitant to commit to long-promised opening date by MLA says it will still open in June

The Oceanside Health Centre is over budget and may not be open by June.

A Vancouver Island Health Authority spokesperson said this week “possible wrinkles” could push the opening of the $15.8 million facility past the date that has been promised to the residents of the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

VIHA’s Suzanne Germaine said Tuesday staff training and orientation requirements may not be met in time to deliver a June opening date. “When it opens, it needs to offer safe, high-quality services,” Germaine told The NEWS. “We are a little bit hesitant whether we can get it right by the end of June.”

This news comes on the heels of word last week the health authority was asking the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District for an additional $435,000 to help with $1 million of what VIHA is calling “cost pressure,” essentially more money that’s needed to finish the project.

Parksville Mayor Chris Burger, who was quoted in the VIHA news release about the additional money required, was asked Tuesday about the possible change in the health centre’s opening date.

“They are developing a completely different model,” said Burger. “With that in mind, it’s not surprising to me that they may have been optimistic initially in terms of when they would open.”

“There hasn’t been a lot of support locally —  that’s a complicated subject which I’m not entirely privy to all the details on —  in terms of the doctors here.”

In May of 2012, MLA Ron Cantelon said the centre was “on track for opening in June, 2013.” There had been no official word of a change to that date from VIHA until the news release about the call for more cash last week made a reference to the facility opening “later this year.”

Despite the hesitancy of VIHA, Cantelon said Tuesday he believes the centre will open June 24.

“It’s full-steam ahead — there’s going to be no change,” he said.

Meanwhile, there is still no word on the employment future of the 15 people who work at Parksville X-Ray. That business was purchased by VIHA in November, 2012 and VIHA said the services provided by that business will be moved into the new health centre.

When it bought the business, VIHA said there was a process it must go though with union representatives, but “there is a shortage of qualified and experienced technologists and other medical imaging personnel in VIHA and it is expected that there will be opportunities for the staff who currently work at the Parksville X-Ray clinic.”

A message on the answering machine at Parksville X-Ray indicated the offices were closed “for holidays” until Monday. Germaine, VIHA’s spokesperson, said the health authority continues to be “in discussions” with the union over the fate of the employees and the staffing of the imaging services portion of the health centre.

There is also no clear indication about the future of the region’s only after-hours walk-in clinic in Parksville. Germaine said “it’s not our clinic” and presumably could stay open after the new facility opens. The Parksville Walk-In Clinic is owned by local physicians and they could not be reached for comment.

There has been no official word on any changes made to the centre’s operational plan — open from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year providing urgent care, primary care and integrated health services on a yearly budget of $15.5 million.

• Members of the Oceanside Division of Family Practice, local general practitioners, issued a news release Wednesday after they met Tuesday night “to discuss various health care considerations ranging from end-of-fife care to physician recruitment.”

According to the release, local doctors say they “welcome the additional medical facility, services and professionals that will be brought to the community with the new Oceanside Health Centre.”

“We look forward to working with the team of health care professionals that will be servicing our area. We know there may be patients, in Oceanside, who don’t have a local physician and we look forward to their being offered services in Oceanside.”

Just Posted

The Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society will get more funding from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (Submitted Photo)
More PQB communities to fund Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society

RDN to introduce amendment to service bylaw contribution

A slide on best practices when reporting a suspected impaired driver that was presented to Parksville city council on June 7 by Margarita Bernard, a volunteer with MADD. The organization’s Report Impaired Drivers campaign involves the installation of informative signs within the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
MADD brings campaign to report impaired drivers to Parksville

Aim is to raise awareness that 911 should be called

Pam Bottomley (executive director), right and Sandy Hurley (president) of the Parksville Downtown Business Association visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Downtown Parksville gears up for post-pandemic bounce back

Podcast: Hurley, Bottomley chat about what’s ahead for the PDBA

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Most Read