The province announced Friday that it has approved a concept plan for a cancer care clinic in Nanaimo.
Friday, while in the Health Sciences Building at Vancouver Island University, Premier David Eby announced that the B.C. government would fulfill a previous campaign promise.
“Today I am so pleased to join with these fine folks behind me and the people in Nanaimo in celebrating the announcement of a new cancer care centre right here in Nanaimo,” said Eby.
The treatment centre will be built at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and the government says it will have radiation therapy, a new CT imaging machine and an outpatient ambulatory care clinic. The current oncology clinic at the hospital will also be renovated and expanded.
The government says the business planning phase is now underway with a goal of opening in four years from now. The project’s scope and budget will be determined during this phase.
Among those at the announcement is Gordon Heys. Now cancer-free, he’s battled cancer twice and knows the challenges of travelling to Victoria for treatment.
“This new plan, while it’s great to hear, is going to take until the summer of 2027 to get our treatment centre here which is think is a little unacceptable. It could be done a lot faster,” said Heys.
Former premier John Horgan first promised a new cancer clinic for Nanaimo in October of 2020. Health Minister Adrian Dix calls today’s announcement exceptional.
The government announced a similar plan for a hospital in Kamloops, Thursday. The region’s MLA believes the announcements are happening to deflect attention from the news that B.C. will be sending some cancer patients to Washington State for radiation treatment.
“The announcements yesterday and today are really a way to try and change the conversation and certainly these are projects that have been long promised,” said Peter Milobar, the B.C. United MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson.