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