The much-anticipated expansion of Peace Arch Hospital’s emergency department is finally – officially – moving ahead.
The $20-million project was celebrated Friday in an announcement at Peace Arch Hospital that also included news of a planned residential-care and hospice facility.
“It certainly is a good morning,” said Ellen Kennett, a longtime member of the hospital’s auxiliary society. “(It) will benefit so many in the coming years.”
It was the ladies auxiliary that, in 1947, kick-started the effort that resulted in the hospital being built.
Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg (whose father, Dr. Al Hogg, was the community’s first doctor) said he was at the auxiliary’s first-ever meeting, as an infant, with his mother, Kay. He doesn’t recall the occasion, he told the crowd of dignitaries and guests who turned out for Friday’s announcement – but he grew up well-aware of the facility’s significance.
“The City of White Rock was probably a product of the fact we had a hospital,” Hogg said.
The ER expansion, expected to begin in the summer of 2016, is the last of five projects announced in 2007 as the focus of Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation’s multi-million-dollar Partners in Caring campaign. The other four goals – a new maternity ward, an MRI, completion of the hospital’s fifth and sixth floors and creation of the Horst & Emmy Werner Centre for Active Living – have all been checked off of the “ambitious” to-do list.
Plans for a 185-bed residential-care building and 15 independent hospice beds – representing an additional commitment from the foundation of $45 million – were also announced. Firm details, such as exactly where it will be built, are expected in the coming months, however, it is known the facility will be built on foundation-owned land and operated by Fraser Health.
The ER funding comprises $15 million raised by the foundation and $5 million from the province through Fraser Health.
The good-news package was delivered just one day before the foundation’s annual Partners in Caring Gala – Code Blue for ER, MCed by actress/comedian Ellie Harvie – held Saturday at Centennial Arena.
That evening, foundation executive director Stephanie Beck – describing the ER as “the heart of our hospital” – announced that more than half of the $15-million goal has been raised.
Gala proceeds added just over $1 million to the tally.
Following a touching video of people who have benefited from the ER sharing their stories, campaign co-chair Dragana Sanderson announced a gift of $500,000, committed over the next five years by Peninsula philanthropists Werner and Helga Hoing. The news sparked a standing ovation.
“We’re truly floored by your kind and philanthropic spirit,” Sanderson told the couple.
That news was followed by word of $100,000 donations from board chair Art Reitmayer and his wife, Marjorie; and board member Bob Cooper and his wife, Carolyn. Two anonymous $100,000 donations were also made.
The live auction added more than $50,000 to the gala’s fundraising total.