Frequently Asked Questions

Comox Valley

Updated August 2016

Also see: Project Frequently Asked Questions and Campbell River Frequently Asked Questions

Hospital Construction

How long will the construction work take?

Site preparation work began in February and was completed by the end of 2013. Actual hospital construction began in July 2014, towards completion by late 2017.

What was done to ensure the safety of Queneesh School students and staff, neighbors and the rest of the public during construction work?

The project team is working closely with School District 71 and Queneesh Elementary administration and parents to address all concerns. We want to be good neighbors. Meetings have taken place with North Island College, School District representatives and school officials, as well as with the Parent Advisory Council (PAC). We created a School Advisory Committee. This committee is working with Island Health to address any school concerns and establish an Emergency Management Plan.

What about the loss of trees on the site?

Efforts were made to retain as many trees as possible, however, many had to be cleared to accommodate construction of the new hospital and on-site infrastructure. Although trees have been left wherever possible, we must ensure site safety by reducing the risk of blow down. An arborist was retained to recommend the best approach. The reduction in the number of trees on the site is temporary. Landscaping will eventually include more than 1,000 trees including Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Dogwood, Garry Oak and other species.

How will pedestrian flows through the area be affected?

While construction has caused some disruption to some pedestrian routes, the North Island Hospitals Project team is committed to working with the school, the college and the city to maintain proper pedestrian flows through the area.

The extensive landscaping work impacts some of the existing pedestrian routes. The paved walking path running between the soccer field and the rest of the hospital site was closed to pedestrian traffic in August 2013. However, the new walkway/buffer zone situated between the hospital site and the North Island College campus was opened. This provides a new walking route to the Lerwick/Ryan road area. Another new, paved walkway runs around the soccer field to Lerwick Road.

All walkway and pedestrian routes on hospital grounds will be built to ensure accessibility for:

  • Individuals with mobility challenges and the visually impaired
  • Baby strollers

How will parking in the area be affected during hospital construction?

We will do our best to minimize the impact. Construction workers and suppliers will not be allowed to park on any portion of the North Island College lands, or on any streets within one kilometre of the hospital site.

How much parking will the new hospitals have?

  • When completed, the new Comox Valley Hospital will include more than 700 stalls in parkade and surface parking on site, including at least 24 handicapped/disabled parking stalls, 10 main door drop-off spaces, two HandyDART parking spaces and 80 bicycle spaces.
  • When completed, the new Campbell River Hospital will include more than 430 stalls in parkade and surface parking on site, including at least 13 handicapped/disabled parking stalls, two HandyDART parking stalls and 80 bicycle spaces.

Will there be pay parking at the new hospitals?

Like other health authorities in the province, Island Health intends to charge for parking at all new facilities with substantial parking infrastructure, including the new Campbell River and Comox Valley hospitals when they open in late 2017.

Parking fees have not yet been determined by Island Health Parking Services.

Pay parking will not apply to: hospital volunteers, hospital auxiliary members, spiritual/pastoral care providers and renal patients.

Hardship provisions are in place to either waive or reduce parking fees where they pose a genuine financial challenge to patients and families. A unit social worker will work with the patient and family if they are in financial distress to recommend a Financial Hardship permit or an alternative transportation option.

Pay parking will apply to: all hospital staff, physicians, patients, visitors, students, contractors and service providers.

For more information, visit our NIHP website:

http://nihp.viha.ca/2015/10/new-comox-valley-and-campbell-river-hospitals-will-have-pay-parking/

Why is the new Comox Valley Hospital being built on this site?

Island Health investigated some 20 sites around the Comox Valley and chose this site in consultation with local and regional governments, and with North Island College for the following reasons:

  • It’s near the centre of the population base;
  • It’s located on high volume arterial roads to maximize access and fit within current and projected road capacity in the Comox Valley;
  • It has an excellent geotechnical base with reduced seismic risks;
  • The site is close to the future fire hall, and well serviced by utilities, thereby reducing costs;
  • Strategic partnerships with North Island College are possible.

What services will be provided at each hospital?

Current services will remain available, recognizing that there may be some modifications arising from technological advances, efficiencies in service delivery and innovation in healthcare delivery. Innovation and advances in technology, including medical innovation, allow us to deliver better services with less space and make better use of existing space. Space utilization is a high priority for this project and Island Health is working closely with the partners on the project to ensure space is used in the most efficient and effective way. The facility will provide opportunities to introduce new specialized services to northern Vancouver Island. They will also improve Island Health’s ability to recruit and retain physicians and other health care professionals.

Comox Valley Staff

Please visit the Project Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to questions we commonly hear from staff at St. Joseph’s and Campbell River.

General FAQs

Will Pastoral Care be valued and supported in the new hospital?

Pastoral care will continue at the new Comox Valley Hospital. Island Health’s Spiritual Health program has a positive relationship with pastoral care at St. Joseph’s Hospital and the two groups meet regularly regarding pastoral care practice. For more information on the Island Health Spiritual Care program visit www.viha.ca/spiritual_care/

What does this mean for plans for a Hospice/Palliative Unit to be located on the SJGH site?

St. Joseph’s and the Hospice Society will continue with their partnership for the development of a Hospice/Palliative Unit on the St. Joseph’s site.

What will happen at the The Views?

The 125 complex care beds in The Views will not transfer to the new hospital. The current plan is for The Views to remain at the St. Joseph’s site and will be discussed as a part of the new role for St Joseph’s.

Will residents of The Views have to move?

As part of any plan to renovate The Views, all efforts will be made to minimize disruptions for the residents. Details regarding how residents may be impacted will be part of a formal plan and communicated at that time.

What will happen to the SJGH Foundation?

The St. Joseph’s General Hospital Foundation performs a valuable role in raising funds to support capital projects and the purchase of equipment for SJGH and for The Views. The SJGH Foundation has been considering how they may continue to play a role in this important work with the move to a new hospital. Island Health and the St. Joseph’s Foundation will be meeting to discuss this topic.

What happens to the SJGH Foundation’s assets – will they stay in the community?

The position of the Foundation has always been to honour the requests of the donors and this principle would apply to the Foundation’s assets.

The SJGH Foundation serves both the acute care and The Views. How will this work with the new hospital?

The Foundation has been considering its role in supporting both The Views and the hospital. Given the transfer of acute care services to the new North Island Hospital, the Foundation will be considering the best way to continue with this acute care support.

The SJGH Foundation has raised funds for specific projects, for example, palliative and hospice care. What will happen to these funds?

It is always the goal of the Foundation to honour the request of donors giving to specific projects. In this example, designated funds for palliative and hospice care would be used to support this specific program.

What will be the process to explore a new role for St. Joseph’s?

There are many exciting possibilities for a new role for St. Joseph’s. Discussions will start with the Island Health Board of Directors and the Diocese of Victoria. Further discussions and planning will involve staff, physicians, members of the community and other agencies.

For more information contact:

Dan MacLennan
Communications & Community Relations Officer
North Island Hospitals Project
Phone: 250-850-2943
Email: dan.maclennan@viha.ca