Editorial: We haven’t done a great job of planning ahead

Going forward, our governments need to do a better job of taking inventory of the public facilities

The Cowichan Valley should consider itself very lucky to be getting a new hospital in 2024.

It’s not that we don’t need it, because we certainly do. But it’s clear from recent statistics that there are many other communities in British Columbia that are also in need of expanded hospital facilities.

Nearly 50 hospitals in the province are running above 100 per cent capacity, with Cowichan District Hospital falling 24th on that list this year. The province as a whole is running at 103.2 per cent occupancy.

Cowichan needs a new hospital not just because of the capacity issues. The structure itself is just old, which comes with problems. Bits of the facade have actually fallen off. And the numbers this year are a little better than in previous years which hit as high at 112 per cent above capacity.

But the most overwhelmed hospitals in the province are in the Fraser Valley and Northern B.C. Stuart Lake Hospital in Fort St. James operated at 135.3 per cent capacity in 2018/19. This is the result of a lack of investment in new facilities for our communities over decades, as the population grew at the same time. Indeed, this has happened across Canada to many different types of infrastructure, and now the results are starting to show (the new high school announced to replace Cowichan Secondary is a good example).

What this means is that we are going to have to invest in a lot of new infrastructure in the coming years, from schools to roads, to hospitals, to bridges, tunnels and more. This work is being done in a piecemeal fashion by various levels of government from municipal to federal, and much of it probably should have been planned and started years before it becomes critical situation after critical situation. Going forward, our governments need to do a better job of taking inventory of the public facilities we have, figuring out their probable lifespans, and preparing (putting away money) for their inevitable replacements, and/0r major renovations — then scheduling what will be done when.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Climbers compete for Choc and Chalk

Annual competition attracts more than 100

Sarah Simpson Column: Social media mobilized to identify found film photo

Over the course of the day, the post generated a couple of hundred responses.

Skating at the Gardens

Duncan Skating Club entertains at Butchart Gardens

T.W. Paterson column: Hudson Bay Co.’s Dr. Benson marched to a different drummer

Chief Factor James Douglas soon banished him to the Columbia River

Cowichan resident with dementia breaks silence on stigma in Alzheimer Society campaign

“I don’t think I’ve encountered stigma as much as I’ve encountered a lack of understanding”

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

Blue Monday is a myth but seasonal affective disorder and the winter blues are real

Canadian Mental Health Association says weather can affect mood

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Wind and snow spark power outages across Vancouver Island

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Most Read