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Hospital board eyeing $100,000 budget for decorative fountains

COURTENAY, B.C- A large amount of money could be set aside for decorations outside the Campbell River and Comox Valley hospitals.

According to the provisional budget and past reports from Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District, each hospital campus has been allocated $50,000 to put in a decorative fountain outside their front doors.

The point of each installation, outlined in agendas dealing with the matter, is to recognize the service provided by previous hospitals, and “all parties that have contributed” to the construction of the new hospitals.

The hospital board has not yet made a decision on whether or not to proceed with the features, but the amounts previously mentioned have been put aside in the provisional budget for this year.

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The recommended hospital budget will be presented at the board’s next meeting on February 7th, 2019.

Bronze plaques carrying the names of the hospital board directors have already been installed at each hospital.

The fountains would carry another plaque, dedicated to staff, community associations, and volunteers.

They would also have a waterfall with a catch pool, be roughly six feet to eight feet wide and tall, curved to fit the landscape, and have minimal maintenance requirements.

The newsroom reached out to the chair of the hospital board, Charlie Cornfield. The following statement was supplied.

“The Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District (CSRHD) allocated funds for new water features at both hospital locations (Campbell River and Comox Valley),” read the statement.

“The estimate for the project came in over what was budgeted for. At this time the project is on hold and will be further discussed at the February CSRHD board meeting.”

Union Bay resident Liza Schmalcel has told the newsroom that she will be presenting to the board about the water feature plans at their next meeting.

She was concerned about the fountain’s safety risk to children, with a playground close by.

“My first concern is child drowning, and then right after that, the budget expenses. It’s just too expensive. It’s just so extravagant, when there is such a dire need (at the hospitals).”

She plans to propose a budget reduction by 80 per cent, with a call to local artists for submissions.

“Just do a simple painting, as a commemorative item, include the community,” said Schmalcel.

“Leave that $80,000 for planning for improving the medical overflow units, or expanding and adding acute care beds, which they need desperately.”

It remains to be seen what the board’s decision will be.

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