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In many situations, 12 is a pretty large number. A dozen eggs can make a pretty monstrous omelet. Twelve jury members can convict a murderer.
But somehow, 12 isn't enough for the Burnaby Hospital Community Consultation Committee to provide an adequate representation of the stakeholders in the future of the aging health care facility.
Among those missing from the group are officials from Burnaby city hall who will need to be involved in rezoning and land-use issues, not to mention the fact council would like to see the hospital moved to the former youth detention centre site at Willingdon and Canada Way.
Front-line nurses were also not on the invitation list. They simply see first-hand the problems of the current facility, which made headlines in recent months for outbreaks of the sometimes deadly C. difficile infection.
And yet, the 12 includes three doctors—the hospital's medical coordinator, an emergency physician and a plastic surgeon—and two Burnaby Liberal MLAs, Harry Bloy and Richard Lee (chair and co-chair, respectively). And a former Liberal riding president.
There are two nurses in the group, albeit both are retired—one now works at a bank and the other owns a small business after working as a nurse and an administrator in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.
Oh, and not to be excluded, the committee includes representation from the College of Denturists.
The committee's composition, while seemingly haphazard, may be more a reflection of the mindset of those who put it together, MLAs Bloy and Lee, who have long had a fractious relationship with the NDP-affiliated Burnaby city council and as Liberals, likely not fans of anything remotely resembling a union.
Therein lies the problem. In a committee charged with listening to the community and helping to shape the future of one of the most important institutions in the city, its hospital, there is simply no room for politics.