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VIHA asks for more cash

Parksville Qualicum Beach's new health centre is facing budget pressures

Construction of the new 39,000 square foot Oceanside Health Centre (OHC) is nearing the final stages with the centre set to begin delivering health care services to Oceanside residents later this year, according to a news release from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA).

VIHA, which is developing the OHC and will operate the new facility, said it recently wrote to the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District to request additional cost-sharing due to some unanticipated cost increases associated with traffic flow and equipment for the new health care facility.

"The Nanaimo Regional Hospital District is an extremely valued partner on this project and has already contributed $6.3 million — 40 per cent to the project's original budget of $15.8 million," said Sheila Cruikshank, VIHA's project director for the Oceanside Health Centre. "Partnerships with local and regional governments are incredibly important to ensure the success of — and funding for — health care projects and equipment."

VIHA said it is asking the regional hospital district to continue this partnership by contributing an additional $435,000, which equates to 40 per cent of a $1,088,581 "cost pressure" on the OHC project.

VIHA says the budget pressure is a result of improvements needed in the building related to: the move of medical imaging services to the OHC, and specifically the purchase of a new x-ray machine; unanticipated requirements related to road access off both Despard and Moilliet streets and off the Port Alberni Highway; and zoning and planning costs related to an adjacent property VIHA has purchased to improve access.

"We are pleased to see the progress of the facility," said Parksville Mayor Chris Burger said. It is not uncommon for developments such as this to experience unexpected infrastructure transportation requirements such as highway re-alignments."                          — NEWS Staff/VIHA