Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Terrace hospital boosters busy rallying community support for trauma centre designation

Residents of Terrace are coming together to continue
to push for their desire to see the new Mills Memorial
Hospital be built as a high level trauma centre for the Northwest

When Finance Minister Mike de Jong spoke to the Terrace Chamber of Commerce in February and indicated that Budget support for a new hospital in Terrace was in place, he sent a community into motion determined to see the long held dream of a new facility to the finish line.

De Jong's comments brought civic officials, health care advocates,  area residents and the Terrace media together, all working towards one purpose; that to make sure that all the requirements are knocked off the to do list to ensure that a new facility to replace Mills Memorial Hospital is built and to set the course to make their community a centre for health care in the region.

As we noted on announcement day, the welcome delivery of replacement plans for the aging Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace came following some impressive lobbying by the Terrace council, which no doubt with an eye on an election campaign, made sure that the Terrace message was one that caught the attention of the Provincial government.

With the NDP having already stated that they would be receptive to the idea of replacement for Mills Memorial should they form a government in May, Terrace officials made sure that the project was flagged as the number one priority for the community.

Now with all the politicians on board, community leaders are rallying residents of the city to their cause, putting together an effective campaign to generate interest and attract attention to their goals of developing the new hospital as a high level trauma centre for the Northwest.

Through a number of media stories over the course of the last month they are building momentum for that message, calling on the spirit of the community that delivered a Hockeyville victory in 2009, to make sure that the health care project follows the same kind of blue print to become a medical centre for the Northwest.

Over the last thirty days, Terrace residents have been receiving a steady stream of background on what a new hospital will mean. Through articles and video stories that highlight for Terrace residents how a trauma centre designation would bring additional medical professionals and medical resources to the city, the lure of a high level centre seen as the best recruitment tool that the community could have.

And while Terrace is lining up its support and making their plans, further down the highway in Prince Rupert, themes of holding firm for existing services, or exploring future ambitions for health care at the moment are barely making a ripple.

With few notes heard either from the local city council scene, or as part of the narrative of the current provincial election campaign.

While Councillor Barry Cunningham did run the topic up the flagpole at city hall back in February, since that time there has been scant public mention at City Council as to how Prince Rupert is addressing the issue of any expansion of health care in Terrace and what impact it may have on this community.

Likewise, as the provincial election campaign moved onward, we heard a few short comments from North Coast candidates at the time of the Terrace announcement.

But since then, none of the three declared candidates have offered much in the way of putting a focus on discussions related to health care, protecting services on the North Coast, or even offering a look at expanding on them.

It is a topic that might be worth raising when the candidates knock on your door sometime between now and election day and certainly should make for a theme of any candidates debate should one be held in the community.

As well, City Council does have the opportunity to invite each of the three candidates currently running in the election campaign to drop in at City Hall during one of the public Council sessions.

That would allow residents of the city to learn more about the candidates thoughts on the issue and provide those council members that have an interest in Health care a chance to explore the theme with the candidates.

As well, since the candidates would be there anyways, it would also give Council an opportunity to get a reading on what each candidate has to offer the residents of the city on any number of other political themes.

The groundswell of support that is building in Terrace is an impressive thing to see, they have fixed their eye on a goal and with some strong leadership in that community, it would seem that they are on track to deliver on health care.

Hopefully that same spirit of community will be found on the North Coast, providing the resources to keep our health care requirements a top priority with Victoria, particularly as the prospect of an expanded medical footprint in Terrace arrives.

You can get a sense of how much the Mills Memorial replacement program is resonating with the people of Terrace below.

Each story adding to the theme of if we build it, medical professionals will come, the only question remaining being that of where those professionals might be coming from?

March 25 -- It's time to shift our health care priorities
March 25 -- The best place for a Terrace hospital 
March 18 -- New hospital will draw more professionals to Terrace
March 18 -- Let's make Terrace 'Hospitalville' 
March 11 -- A chance to secure local jobs
March 9 -- Here's a glimpse of what a new Mills Memorial Hospital means for Terrace
March 5 --  Terrace mega project a go
March 2 -- Terrace to get a brand new hospital

February 28 -- 'My cheeks hurt so hard from just grinning," says Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc (audio)
February 28 -- Terrace's Mills Memorial Hospital to get replacement announces Finance Minister (audio)
February 28 -- Mills Memorial Hospital Replacement Announcement (video)
February 28 -- New Hospital for Terrace?
February 28 -- Terrace getting new hospital

More notes related to Northern Health in the Northwest can be found on our archive pages.

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