The Regional District of Nanaimo will forward a resolution for consideration by the Union of BC Municipalities at their convention this year to request that the province review the cost-sharing model for funding hospital capital projects.
Currently, regional hospital districts, including the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District (NRHD), pay 40 per cent of the cost of capital projects while the province covers 60 per cent. The RDN’s resolution states this funding formula results in “unsustainable” levels of property taxation. The resolution calls for the province to review the formula in consultation with regional hospital district boards to come up with ways to reduce the reliance on property tax funding at the local government level, “enabling local governments to implement sustainable taxation approaches for a realistic portion of the costs associated with hospital capital projects.”
In the NRHD, Island Health is proposing a number of capital projects through 2035, including a $1.05 billion patient tower. The NRHD’s share is estimated at $420 million in current dollars. The NRHD select committee recently received a report that outlined how other hospital districts have funded their 40 per cent share of recent hospital builds in the Island Health region. The Comox Regional Hospital District (CRHD) funded $150 million from reserve funds it built up in the lead-up to the construction of the Comox Valley and Campbell River hospitals. CRHD’s tax rate for 2020 was $0.54 per $1,000 assessed compared to the NRHD’s rate of $0.16 per $1,000 assessed. For 2021, the tax rate in NRHD is $0.21 per $1,000.
UBCM’s annual convention takes place in September when resolutions will be considered for endorsement by the membership.
Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder