Centre of controversy

Health Centre groundbreaking could have been handled better

Officials broke ground on the proposed health centre serving all of District 69 on Wednesday. It was a nice photo op for all involved.

Where the ground breaking experience should have taken place, is in communication with the public.

With little to no public notice (even The News was only officially told about the event a couple of hours beforehand — and this was through MLA Ron Cantelon’s office, not the Vancouver Island Health Authority), the ground breaking was held.

This is supposed to be a moment of success — the community is a step closer to getting a new health care facility. Yet, this ceremony was done very quietly, despite the fact that there had to be plenty of pre-planning in arranging for local politicians and other people to be there. Heck, they had to ship in dirt to dig, that must have taken some time to arrange.

Maybe, just maybe, someone could have said something a little earlier. The opportunity was there.

Yes, the media were there, and through us the community at large is informed.

However, the health centre project is not without controversy and critics, partisan politics notwithstanding. Those folks are now asking us what the deal is with the lack of public notice of this staged event.

A growing assumption exists that VIHA does  not want to face their critics and are pushing the project forward without any further public input.

We tend to agree.

This, in the end, is a good project for the area and a strong point from which to build.

To ensure people support it in that way, proponents have to let them know they are being heard, understood and that there’s room for change when necessary.

Right now, people with serious concerns about what we’re getting in a health centre don’t feel they’ve received any of that.

— editorial by Steven Heywood