The B.C. New Democrats are criticizing a plan announced by B.C. Premier Christy Clark to redevelop St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver, saying it's a promise the governing Liberals have made before.
Clark made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday morning, the day after announcing a similar redevelopment at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.
"This is the second day in a row the Liberals have made promises to fix health care facilities, and British Columbians have a right to be skeptical," said NDP health critic Mike Farnworth.
"They’ve been promising upgrades to hospitals like this one, like Royal Columbian and like Surrey Memorial, for years. British Columbians need a comprehensive plan to fix aging infrastructure, not one-off announcements made for political gain."
Clark said Wednesday the final concept plan and a more detailed business plan are expected to be complete by 2014.
"Finalizing the concept plan is a critical milestone that will lay a strong foundation for a redeveloped hospital that ensures patients and families continue to receive that world-class health care for years to come," she said, adding Providence Health Care and the Health Ministry would begin work immediately.
Liberals saving 'their own political skin,' says NDP
The redevelopment is expected to include a new outpatient care tower as well as infrastructure upgrades and renovations, including seismic upgrades to existing buildings.
In a written release, the New Democrats said the Liberals have been making similar commitments since 2002.
"In 2010, the Liberals promised that they'd work with St. Paul's on developing a business case, which is the last step before redevelopment," said West End NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert.
"Here we are two years later, and the minister is breaking his government’s word and taking a step back from redevelopment by promising a concept plan before a business case, a concept plan Providence [Health Care] already gave the government over a year ago.
"My concern — and it continues today — is that the Liberals are making these announcements to save their own political skin without any real plan of following through."