Preferred hospital site gets our thumbs-up

At first blush the preferred site chosen by the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District seems like a sound choice.

At first blush the preferred site chosen by the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District seems like a sound choice.

It’s early days, and, as with everything, there will no doubt be some in opposition to situating a new facility just south of the intersections of Herd Road and the Trans Canada Highway, on Bell McKinnon Road.

We’re interested to hear what the objections turn out to be, as it seems like a good choice at first glance.

The location just outside of Duncan is convenient enough to the city while providing enough property to build the necessary facility.

Road access is good and upgrades will be necessary, but we’re not talking twinning the Malahat here — a good thing for the pocketbook.

No doubt some of the neighbours will object to increased traffic  in their area, which is a valid concern and will be inevitable wherever the hospital locates.

On the plus side, having a hospital nearby can actually raise property values in neighbourhoods.

However, a hospital in this location would almost inevitably increase the pressure to develop more residential density in the surrounding area, and this spot currently boasts big properties that, while many of them are not being farmed now, obviously used to be, including the properties in question for the hospital itself.

While we are assured that the land is not in the Agricultural Land Reserve, it clearly could be used for farming and traditionally has been.

It is always sad to see former farmland — whether it falls in the Agricultural Land Reserve or not — eaten away by development. That is one of the strongest objections to the siting of the new police station near the

Cowichan Commons mall.

It is important to preserve the farmland we have that is close to our urban centres. Urban sprawl is something that all communities must guard against, and ours is no different.

This certainly seems to us to be the biggest pitfall at present but….

There is no doubt that Cowichan needs a new hospital.

We published a story several years ago now about how bits of the building were actually falling off.

It doesn’t get too much more cut and dried than that.

We’re thankful that there doesn’t seem to be any movement towards just simply closing up shop here in the Cowichan Valley in favour of shipping patients to bigger centres in Nanaimo or Victoria.

We wouldn’t put it past some of the bureaucratic bean counters who seem to love centralization above all things, whether it actually serves the population better or not.

We cannot think of a better site than the one being proposed that would be both big enough and still have the proximity to town.

So, weighing the pluses and the minuses, this one gets our initial thumbs-up.