Is there more to Oak Bay Lodge land sale?

Re: Oak Bay Lodge lands changing hands (, March 10)

The transfer of Oak Bay Lodge to the Capital Regional Health District seems a good thing, as it will keep Oak Bay Lodge in public hands. However, we would do well to examine the details, including the sell-off of Mount Tolmie Hospital.

VIHA’s CEO, Howard Waldner, claims he is fulfilling the B.C. Liberal government’s agenda, i.e. to produce VIHA’s share of the long-overdue 5,000 new beds for elderly citizens requiring residential care. But this expensive transaction will only add “50 to 60 long-term care beds to the system.” The rest will be “replacement beds” from the Oak Bay Lodge’s closure and the sale of Mount Tolmie Hospital. Mount Tolmie Hospital should not be sold. It is a perfect site for a new and bigger facility and serves an area that is very short of public seniors’ care.

Contracting out Oak Bay Lodge to Baptist Housing Society for 60 years raises two important questions: How many of the new beds will be publicly managed and delivered? How many of them will be offered at “market” prices (generally double the cost of public care)?

We will hold our applause and ask for more details before we celebrate the victory of the citizens of Oak Bay-Gordon Head to keep both facilities publicly owned and operated.

Dale Perkins