RICHMOND COUNCILLORS CALL FOR RICHMOND HOSPITAL COMMITMENT IN BC BUDGET, LAUNCH PUBLIC PETITION

RICHMOND – Following years of talk about a new acute care tower at Richmond Hospital, the facility is now in dire need and a public petition has been launched asking Premier John Horgan to finally take action in the next B.C. Budget in February 2018, said Richmond Councillors Derek Dang, Bill McNulty, and Linda McPhail today.

“Richmond Hospital’s acute care tower is over 50-years old and falls woefully short of current seismic standards and does not meet current health standards,” said Councillor Bill McNulty. “We’ve had governments pay lip service to our needs in Richmond for years and we’re calling on the public to tell the Premier to finally make a commitment to a new tower in February’s B.C. Budget.”

A concept plan for a new acute care tower was delivered by Vancouver Coastal Health to the BC Government early in 2017. The previous BC Liberal government committed to advancing planning to the final business plan stage in September 2017, and the BC NDP supported advancing the hospital as quickly as possible prior to the May 2017 election. To date, no further action has been taken.

Richmond Hospital Foundation has been fundraising to support the new acute care tower, committing to raise $40 million should the project advance to development. To date, approximately $27 million has been raised, but half is tied to a construction start date in 2020 and may be revoked if that deadline passes without action.

“Time is of the essence to advance the acute care tower and capitalize on the substantial donations being raised in our community,” said Councillor Linda McPhail. “The public has clearly spoken with their philanthropy and now we want them to add their voices too.”

Richmond Hospital first opened February 26, 1966 with 132 beds, supporting a city’s population of under 50,000 residents. Today, with 233 beds, Richmond Hospital serves a city population of nearly 220,000 residents, not including the hospital’s role to service YVR airport.

“Richmond Hospital has one bed available per 1000 people living in Richmond, the fewest of any hospital in British Columbia,” said Councillor Derek Dang. “Our population continues to grow and people want to be sure their health care is there for them as well.”

“The time is now for our community to speak with a single voice and demand this project move forward,” said Peter Liu, a prominent Richmond businessman and community activist. “Richmond is united to see a new acute care tower constructed and this petition will play an important role in ensuring we’re heard.”

“I have nothing but respect for the doctors, nurses and medical professionals that are working under challenging circumstances at Richmond Hospital,” said Andy Hobbs, former Richmond Board of Education Trustee. “The Province can’t ignore the needs of the people of our city any longer. They must build the new tower.”

The petition has set an initial goal of 1,000 signatures and is available online at https://www.change.org/p/premier-john-horgan-build-the-new-acute-care-tower-at-richmond-hospital-now.

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