Council wants a say in the expansion of long term care services in Smithers. Pictured here is the Bulkley Lodge facility in that community. (Google photo)

Long term care remains on council priority list

Wants to be involved in expansion plans in Smithers

Long term care continues to be on the District of Houston’s priority list, this time wanting to ensure the community’s interests were included in plans to expand care options in Smithers.

There are independent living units and assisted care units at Cottonwood Manor and the Houston Health Centre does have four beds but the District has been pressing Northern Health for higher care levels.

Council’s latest advocacy comes as Northern Health is beginning planning for an expansion of facilities in Smithers and in the Hazeltons and was raised at an April 6 council meeting by councillor Jonathan Van Barneveld.

Speaking afterward, mayor Shane Brienen said it’s important that Houston be heard because Smithers is a hub for many levels of health care services in the area.

“We do have beds in our community but when there isn’t room residents then have to go to either Smithers or to Burns Lake,” he said.

“For Smithers, because it is a central location, what happens there has an influence in Houston.”

How Houston is to be represented in the planning to expand long term care in Smithers has not yet been decided, but the North West Regional Hospital District, which extends from the north coast area to Houston, has committed to paying $1.5 million to develop business plans for a facility in Smithers and in the Hazeltons.

A business plan is not a guarantee the projects will go ahead as they do need the approval of the provincial government. It traditionally finances 60 per cent of the cost of building health care facilities with hospital districts contributing 40 per cent through property taxes.

“If provincial approval is obtained to proceed, a preliminary estimate of approximately $23 million [would be required from the North West Regional Hospital District,” a memo prepared for its board indicates.

Based on the $23 million being the 40 per cent contribution amount from the hospital district, the province’s 60 per cent would come to $34.5 millon for a potential combined cost of $57.5 million for the two facilities.

And even though the hospital district is paying the full $1.5 million for the two business plans, the Northern Health Authority will eventually reimburse it for 60 per cent of the cost.

Bulkley Lodge in Smithers has room for 70 residents with two units set aside for those with dementia. There are also three double occupancy rooms, something that is no longer the standard in new residences.

Wrinch Memorial Hospital is the home of long term care in the Hazeltons. It has 10 beds, all in double occupancy rooms and one is set aside for respite care.

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

Just Posted

District of houston
Council dips into surplus for highway project

Costs have risen to place utility lines underground

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Accessibility improvements and more classrooms at the Houston Christian School should be completed by the new school year. (Houston Today photo)
Accessibility improvements coming to Houston Christian School

Construction package includes two classrooms

The soft opening of the nature centre at the Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery took place mid-April. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)
Houston hatchery and nature centre’s upcoming events

The conservation group to host summer students this year

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)
Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training to better understand provincial mask mandate after posting picture

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Most Read