It’s Not Just Your Grocery Bills That Are Skyrocketing

Rising costs are delaying the hospital's completion a while longer

From $350M to $1.45 Billion, Cowichan Valley Hospital costs skyrocket

You don’t have to look farther than your own pockets to see how inflation is eating up our savings.

It’s a hungry monster, and it’s not sparing anyone.

Least of all our essential services.

The jumps in costs to improve our communities are mind-blowing.

The Cowichan Valley Hospital has been in the making for ten years.

It’s the Island’s number one priority capital project, and boy, a lot has changed since it was first envisioned.

A few years ago, it was estimated the new hospital would cost $350M to build.

Fast forward to today, and Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s financial update for the province has just announced the costs will now total $1.45 Billion.

Most likely, this won’t be the last cost increase either.

The previous cost estimate came in at $887M, a jump of 63 percent over the previous estimate. Now it’s almost doubled again.

Robinson said that most of the huge increase can be chalked up to three things: global inflation, supply chain challenges, and labour shortages.

Essentially the same things spiking the prices of food, housing – pretty much everything, actually.

These three trends account for about $488 million of the cost increase; the rest will help people get the care they need.

“The remaining $70 million is related to owner cost increases, including furniture and medical equipment, IM/IT, and procurement costs,” the statement said.

“Our goal with this project is to build a facility that will meet the acute care needs of the people who will be using it for the next several decades.”

The new hospital will replace the aging facility on Gibbins Road.

The existing Cowichan District Hospital was opened in 1967 and has 134 acute inpatient beds.

But, since the hospital’s opening, the Valley’s population has more than doubled.

The new hospital will be nearly three times larger than the current facility, accommodate 42,000 visits annually, and include 201 acute inpatient beds.

The new hospital is designed to accommodate the growth in the region’s population over the next few decades.

That is if they can find enough doctors and nurses to treat them.

Hopefully, finding healthcare workers won’t be something they’ll still have to worry about for a good few years. (Probably good, Island Health has enough on its plate just trying to fill the hospitals that are already built).

The jump in costs will delay the scheduled completion date of the hospital to 2027.