South Island Health Coalition

April 19, 2010 15:35 ET

Residents demand VIHA stop sale of Mount Tolmie and Oak Bay Lodges

April 18 public forum on seniors’ care highlights growing needs, diminishing public options and a lack of planning by VIHA

Attention: City Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OAK BAY/SAANICH - NEWS RELEASE--(Marketwire - April 19, 2010) - Concerned residents and constituents of Ida Chong's Oak Bay-Gordon Head constituency met Sunday afternoon. But the local MLA failed to show or join with them in telling VIHA that selling the two facilities in favour of a privately owned and operated facility is a mistake.

The seniors' care forum was organized by the South Island Health Coalition and held April 18 at the Cadboro Bay United Church.

It began with a panel presentation featuring health policy analyst Jeremy Tate, Saanich councillor Judy Brownoff, Jessica Van der Veen of Let's Agree Not to Dispose of Seniors! (LANDS!), and Peggy Storey whose family member lives at Oak Bay Lodge.

Jeremy Tate said that VIHA's current plan is consistent with trends in seniors' care across B.C.

"The provincial government has not provided any money for new seniors' care facilities, and VIHA has not planned to meet the growing demand for residential care. Replacing these facilities with a private, for-profit model will end up costing more for seniors, their families, and our communities."

Councillor Judy Brownoff said: "There is no doubt that facilities like Mount Tolmie Hosptial need to be maintained. But let me be clear: Saanich is not selling off its public lands." Councillor Pam Copley of Oak Bay also attended and affirmed her personal commitment to protect the zoning on Oak Bay Lodge property.

Peggy Storey said: "Having my father-in-law right here in our community means he is part of the everyday life of our family. He is doing so well with the care he receives at Oak Bay Lodge combined with regular outings to our family home. We don't want to see this changed."

Jessica Van der Veen said: "We are not prepared to see these public lands sold off to the highest bidder for short term gain. We have a moral and political obligation to care for our seniors. We need to both keep these lands and build more seniors care because we are already short 500 beds on the South Island."

Through the audience-led discussion that followed the presentations, speakers called on the provincial government to put a stop to the sell-off and privatization of publicly-owned, -funded and -provided seniors' care in the Oak Bay/Saanich community.

Many supported demands made in the petition that has been circulating, including one urging VIHA to cease and desist with plans to sell off Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital properties, recognizing that these lands are not only a public asset but also a sacred trust for future generations. This petition will be presented to the legislature before the end of April.

The petition also asks that VIHA rescind plans to contract out seniors' public health care, recognizing that privatization and corporatization has consistently led to a loss of complex residential care; a loss of public accountability, control and transparency, and increased costs to the taxpayer.

The forum was hosted by the South Island Health Coalition, LANDS!, the BC Government and Service Employees' Union, the Hospital Employees' Union and others.
/For further information: Alternate Contact:
Jessica Van der Veen
250-884-1953 (cell) or 250-598-9272 (Home)/ IN: FINANCE, HEALTH, MEDIA, POLITICS, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • Dale Perkins, South Island Health Coalition
    Primary Phone: 250-592-5487
    Secondary Phone: 250-592-4605