New seniors facility must not cost beds elsewhere

Many Cowichanians bitterly remember the 2008 closure of Cowichan Lodge

New seniors facility must not cost beds elsewhere

Dear mayors and councillors, and Valley MLAs Sonia Furstenau and Doug Routley:

I applaud Island Health’s plan to partner with H&H Total Care Services Inc. to build a much-needed 88-bed seniors facility at Beverley Street and York Road, but I’ve seen this movie before, albeit starring different players.

Many Cowichanians bitterly remember the 2008 closure of Cowichan Lodge, a cherished 100-bed seniors facility that was a proud part of our community. We were led to believe by Island Health (formerly the Vancouver Island Health Authority) North Cowichan-Duncan was to get more seniors’ residences at the privately-owned Meadows and Sunridge Place along Bundock Avenue. Sadly, it was classic bait-and-switch by our our health ministry.

Cowichan Lodge was suddenly closed, its dedicated workers sacked, and its frail residents moved — at risk to their health, according to local doctors — to other facilities. Terrible treatment; an action that cost the ministry the trust of Cowichan citizens — a trust Island Health is still presumably trying to regain by helping build facilities such as the Beverley-York project, plus our promised new Cowichan District Hospital on Bell-McKinnon Road.

I urge councillors, and MLAs Furstenau and Routley to ensure this new 88-bed facility does not come at the cost of seniors care beds again being closed elsewhere in our area. I’d hate to see a rerun of the Cowichan Lodge fiasco. I’d also like to know how many potential beds our new CDH will have for our taxpaying citizens.

Peter W. Rusland

Duncan

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