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“Everybody in the community is to be commended because this has been a real community effort.”
The cash influx, she said, should make it possible to have the scanner operational by the end of the year.
“Really, we should have it up and running before Christmas,” she said.
“It’s not such a huge project but it’s an expensive one and specialized.”
The key players realized just how specialized and how expensive the project was last summer when the capital costs jumped roughly $800,000 in the final design stages. The budget change was due in part to a change in location of the cooling plant and a more complicated foundation needed for the 900 square foot addition to the Whistler Health Care Centre.
“The CT scan project has been somewhat frustrating in that it’s taken longer than any of us expected and the costs associated with the project, in particular the construction of the expanded space to house the CT scan, certainly cost more than we anticipated,” said Gimse.
“Let’s face it, this is of significant importance to the region. A CT scan based in Whistler will certainly reduce waiting time for our residents and travel time. When you’re dealing with health issues who needs that added stress to their daily lives? So absolutely it’s a huge benefit to the corridor.”
The CT scanner is just one of several projects the SSRHD is cost sharing with the health authority.
Its contributions to other capital projects in the corridor, however, vary.
The SSRHD is contributing more than $1.1 million to renovations at Squamish General Hospital — 47 per cent of the total $2.46 million project.
A further $5.9 million is going to the expansion of the long-term care facilities at Hilltop House in Squamish — 31 per cent of the total $18.9 million project.
With renovations to the pharmacy at Squamish General and the lab in Pemberton, the SSRHD is borrowing more than $7.6 million in total to pay for the projects.
“We’ll borrow funding over a period of time and that keeps the tax rate down,” said Gimse.
Taxpayers can expect to see a line item for both the SSRHD and the now defunct Squamish-Lillooet Regional Hospital District, which still has a debt, on their upcoming tax notices.
The combined tax rate for both entities means that for every $100,000 in assessed value, taxpayers will pay $10. That means a home valued at $1 million will have a $100 line item for hospital capital on the tax bill.
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