West Kelowna health centre not a priority: IHA

A number of West Kelowna residents got the opportunity to question the province and Interior Health about the status of a proposed urgent care centre for their community on Thursday night.

However, they learned that such a facility is not at the top of the provincial priority list right now.

“We have rural communities that have a great need to access services right now. Even though West Kelowna residents have to cross a bridge, we feel in the long run, services people get in West Kelowna are second to none,” said Dr. Robert Halpenny, president and CEO of Interior Health.

More than five years ago, IHA promised to build a health centre on the Westside.

Interior Health even went as far as purchasing property at the corner of Elliott and Berring Roads in 2009.

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While residents feel a growing population and an overloaded Kelowna General Hospital are good reasons for a new facility in their community, IHA says it won’t happen in the foreseeable future.

“The timeline is not within the next two to three years, but certainly we would look at this every year and I would think that within the next five years we’ll have a better idea of what the options are on this part piece of land,” Halpenny said.

“I think people have heard for the first time where this project is in terms of healthcare,” said Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart. “We are still working on it but it is not in the time frame that many people had hoped would be developed in the next couple of years.”

While putting off the commitment of the urgent care centre, Halpenny opened a discussion on the possibility of a community health centre that would see services already available in West Kelowna come together under one roof.