An Interior Health report made public today suggests it would cost about half as much to renovate Kootenay Lake hospital as it would to replace.

UPDATED: Report card released on Kootenay hospitals

Kootenay Lake Hospital could use about $30 million worth of repairs, an Interior Health facilities study has concluded.

Nelson’s Kootenay Lake Hospital could use about $30 million worth of repairs, an Interior Health facilities study concludes.

The report summary, received last month by the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District and made public today, looks at acute and residential care facilities throughout the region.

It uses a formula called facility condition index to assess each building, an industry standard that measures the physical state of a building and its systems, including mechanical, electrical and plumbing. The total cost of repairs or renovations is divided by the cost of replacement. The lower the number, the better condition the facility is in and the lesser the need for renovations.

Kootenay Lake hospital, which is 56 years old, has an estimated replacement value of $63.3 million, and a facility condition index of 0.48, meaning a thorough overhaul would cost about $30 million.

By comparison, Kootenay Boundary regional hospital in Trail is 60 years old, has a replacement value of $83.6 million, and a condition index of 0.53, so it could use a $44 million investment.

Nelson mayor John Dooley, who is also the city’s hospital district representative, said he wasn’t surprised that there are big infrastructure deficits, but learning the actual costs was “a wake-up call” and “like a sledgehammer.”

“We’ve got some serious challenges ahead of us,” he said. “We probably knew in the back of our minds that work needed to be done, but now we have numbers attached and it’s staggering.”

However, Dooley was optimistic it could be addressed: “Nothing’s impossible if you have a plan. It will take political will and a long-term commitment, but it can be done.”

He also said that despite the amount of work required, it’s not as though Kootenay Lake hospital has been neglected, pointing to the new emergency room that opened last year.

Two smaller hospitals fared better in the assessment: Arrow Lakes hospital in Nakusp, which is 38 years old, has a replacement value of $14.1 million and an index of 0.31, so the price tag on repairs is about $4.3 million. Boundary hospital in Grand Forks, which is 50 years old, is worth $36.4 million and had an index of 0.32, suggesting it requires $11.6 million in capital improvements.

Castlegar’s community health centre had a replacement value of $32.6 million, and a facilities index of 0.41, which works out to a wish list of upgrades worth $13.4 million; Slocan community health centre in New Denver was pegged at a value of $16.3 million and a facilities index of 0.37, equal to $6 million in potential work; and Kaslo’s Victorian community health centre is worth $12.4 million and has an index of 0.49, so it would also cost $6 million to fully renovate.

The numbers do not include things like taxes, architectural fees, equipment, or furniture.

The study, completed in September, also looked at long-term care facilities: those in the best shape include Hardy View Lodge in Grand Forks, which was rebuilt five years ago, and Talarico Place in Castlegar. On the other end of the scale, Poplar Ridge Pavilion in Trail had an index of 0.61, indicating that it needs up to $11.6 million in renovations.

The complete list of assessments can be found here.

Although intended to help guide capital investment decisions, the summary does not make any explicit recommendations around which facilities should be repaired or replaced first, nor about where new facilities should be built.

“The demand for capital needs will continue to outweigh funding levels,” it reads. “The [facilities condition index is] only one component of a process used to determine capital investment priorities.”

Other factors include whether a facility is providing the right services; whether it’s able to accommodate current volume and growth; whether it’s adaptable to current standards; and whether it’s able to meet clinical and program needs, the summary stated.

Interior Health declined to comment on the report until it’s discussed at a hospital district meeting next Wednesday in Castlegar.

The hospital district is responsible for paying 40 per cent of approved capital projects while the provincial government and hospital foundations pick up the rest.

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