As most readers will know, I have been tirelessly working with the Ministry of Health on the expansion at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
While I’m still working with Minister Michael de Jong on this, it’s nice to have the opportunity to deliver some other good news in the meantime.
From now on, Lumby seniors who can no longer live on their own won’t have to look out of town to find new accommodation.
Recently, Interior Health signed a contract with inSite Housing, Hospitality and Health Services to run a 46-unit residential care centre. It will be adjacent to the health centre – and near both Monashee Place and Saddle Mountain Place – making for an extremely convenient location.
These 46 beds are part of 527 announced by Interior Health in December 2010 – necessary additions as British Columbia’s population continues to age.
While this is by no means a solution, in the near term, this new facility will ease some of the pressure on Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
Obviously there’s much more to be done – and will be done – but even the longest journey must begin with a first step.
I was careful not to influence the bidding process in any way, but as a former mayor of Lumby, I have been keenly aware of the need for a facility like this.
It’s a need that has grown with Lumby and the wider region, both in size and age. It’s extremely gratifying to see all the hard work that went into this start to come to fruition.
We anticipate work will begin by November, and take about a year – meaning Christmas 2012 might be extra special for quite a few Lumby families, as their parents and grandparents will no longer have to find care and accommodation elsewhere.
This project and the facility it will create in Lumby is exactly the kind of thing Premier Christy Clark had in mind with her families first philosophy.
Allowing seniors who need extra care to remain in Lumby, near their loved ones, keeps families together.
I can’t think of any better way to put families first.
Visit Eric’s website at www.ericfostermla.bc.ca
—Eric Foster is the MLA for Vernon-Monashee