Prince George’s University Hospital was left off the list for medical facilities in line for replacement or upgrades in this year’s BC Budget.
Nearly eight billion dollars in health infrastructure projects are planned over the fiscal period, which includes the new Surrey Hospital and Cancer Centre and the new St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
In addition, new hospitals are slated to be built in the Cowichan and Dawson Creek Districts as well as Terrace and Stuart Lake.
This was a major disappointment for BC Liberal MLA Mike Morris who told Vista Radio the city has a 1950s’ structure that is not adequate to meet modern medical needs.
“Northern Health covers the northern 80% of the province and a lot of the patients would be coming here if we had the facilities for them. Having no mention of that in this year’s budget is heartbreaking and it’s not doing a service to those in Prince George here.”
“Our operating rooms are too small, our facilities are too small and we don’t have enough spaces. We are a regional hospital, we are a training hospital.”
Morris was also not a fan of the NDP calling their social programs, social infrastructure.
“When one thinks of infrastructure where you are going to borrow money and you are going to build something and get a return on it. That’s bridges, hospitals, schools, and highways – when you call social programs infrastructure, I think that is misleading the public.”
Resources like mining were also left in the cold according to Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad – a trend he believes should change.
“Anything you can think about when it comes to the green economy it needs mineral resources and we are in a place right now that if there are no new mines starting up in British Columbia, by 2040 there will only be five operating mines left in the province. That’s unacceptable.”
In addition, Rustad is also frustrated with the lack of forestry funding – stating there is slated to be a 75-million dollar cut to the Ministry’s budget over the next three years.
“There was no talk of any initiatives. They talk about the status quo in planting the same number of trees as last year as the highlight.”
Rustad was also critical of the significant spending from the Horgan government over the next few years.
“What we are looking at is a total of just under 20-billion dollars in deficits over the next three years and that’s on top of about what is projected right from the third quarter, which is eight billion and likely to be higher for the current year. That’s a pretty huge amount of deficit spending.”
The province earmarked 3.1 billion dollars for health care including 500-million to tackle the overdose crisis.
Rustad noted the investment to tackle the fight on illicit drugs is a positive step but more details need to be known.
“Of course, with the devil being in the details in terms of just how that will be able to play out but we have a huge problem with that (overdose crisis).”