After years of private sector commercial real estate and development, I was hired by BC Buildings Corporation in 1992 as lease manager for the City of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. BCBC was a crown corporation mandated to provide accommodation for the ministries of B.C. and other public entities. The Ministry of Health was one of our biggest customers and I negotiated and built leased premises for everything from alcohol and drug clinics to mental health clinics to ambulance stations, to administrative offices.
When health was regionalized in 1995, I liaised with all the Lower Mainland health authorities on behalf of BCBC. On Vancouver Island, the Capital Region board opted to stay with BCBC, while Mid Island and North Island boards decided to do their own thing. As a result, some very stupid deals were done.
VIHA does not belong in the real estate business. There were solid business reasons the Ministry of Health built and owned hospitals but leased all other premises from the private sector. They didn’t want the financial exposure and they knew they needed the flexibility that leased premises provides. Government programs are forever expanding, downsizing and relocating.
The proposed health centre is nothing more than an office building, partially to be leased by private sector tenants like doctors, labs and pharmacies; with the remainder to be occupied by a consolidation of health tenants who should not be under the same roof.
Uses like alcohol and drug and mental health can’t be sharing common areas with breast feeding clinics and seniors’ programs. There are other uses that are not compatible neighbours.
What happens when one of the VIHA uses outgrows the space or has to relocate for other reasons? Will VIHA and the tax payers be on the hook for the cost of the vacant space, or will a program be compromised because they are not allowed to move out or expand?
VIHA may get nice new offices, but what benefit is this health centre to the people of Parksville and Qualicum Beach? Please, please put that $14 million towards a hospital.