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Bloy disappointed Burnaby won't participate in hospital consultations

Burnaby-Lougheed Liberal MLA Harry Bloy -
Burnaby-Lougheed Liberal MLA Harry Bloy
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Liberal MLA Harry Bloy (Burnaby-Lougheed) says Burnaby city hall will be missing out on a chance to share its opinions on the future of Burnaby Hospital with the public.

Bloy was responding to comments by Mayor Derek Corrigan at a recent council meeting that he and city staff were participating in the "official" planning process for the hospital's redevelopment with the Ministry of Health, Fraser Health Authority and Burnaby Hospital Foundation.

As for the 12-member Burnaby Hospital Community Consultation Committee, struck by Bloy and fellow Liberal MLA Richard Lee (Burnaby-North), Corrigan called it a "political organization."

Bloy took umbrage with the description and expressed disappointment at Burnaby's stance.

"It's saddening for the people of Burnaby that council and staff won't be participating in our citizens' forum," he said. "The committee was announced by the Minister of Health. I don't know how much more official you can get."

While the consultation committee is not the only process going on simultaneously, it's "an important part of the process."

When asked why a representative from the City of Burnaby and nurses currently working at the hospital were not included on the committee, Bloy said "nobody was slighted ... you couldn't put everyone on the committee." He noted that there is also no representation from the City of Vancouver despite the hospital serving much of east Vancouver.

"This is about citizens sitting down and willing to spend their own time without being compensated at all with no special interests looking at what's best for Burnaby Hospital," he said. "We picked what we thought was a fair representation of the citizens of Burnaby and the needs for the hospital."

The committee will hold eight to 10 meetings to hear presentations from groups and individuals and is scheduled to report back to Fraser Health on its findings by the end of September.

"City hall, they have some opinions on where they think the hospital should be and I think they should come and present them to us," Bloy said, referring to a proposal that the hospital be moved to the former Willingdon Youth Correction Centre across from B.C. Institute of Technology.

"Different is good because it opens up all the options. I think they should come and say what they're looking at to help everybody move forward."

For his part, Corrigan maintains that the committee is a political process and that city hall has chosen to be involved on a technical level with ministry and Fraser Health staff.

"We're actively involved and engaged in the process, we're just not participating in  the political process and that's because Harry didn't invite us to be on his committee."

An invitation to Burnaby to submit input to the committee was addressed to the city's bylaw department, he noted.

He dispelled the notion that the group is a citizens committee, pointing out that not only are Bloy and Lee heading the group, the citizen chair, Pamela Gardner, is a former Liberal riding president for Burnaby-Edmonds.

"I mean, after all, they didn't include the MLA from that area, did they?"

That would be the mayor's wife, Kathy Corrigan, New Democrat MLA for Burnaby-Deer Lake, the riding where the hospital is located.

"So if it was non-partisan then they would have asked the MLA from the local hospital's riding to participate with them but they didn't. That shows you it's just a political effort," the mayor said.

"I don't disparage that political effort but I think when Harry says he's being sad I think those are crocodile tears. I think Harry is simply trying to suggest that we're not participating when in fact we are."

• The first public meeting of the Burnaby Hospital Community Consultation Committee takes place Thursday, June 28, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Bonsor Community Centre, 6550 Bonsor Ave., Burnaby. To register to speak, email mybbyhospital@hotmail.com. Info: facebook.com/mybbyhospital.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

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