As British Columbians gauge their earthquake readiness Thursday, the NDP is raising concerns over the state of St. Paul’s Hospital.
On the eve of the Great B.C. ShakeOut, Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert stood outside the downtown hospital and highlighted a decade of government inaction.
The Liberals have been promising to make seismic and infrastructure improvements at the hospital since 2002, he said, and there’s still no timeline.
“If there was a major earthquake, our local hospital would collapse,” said Chandra Herbert. “[The main building] would tear itself apart. The government knows the hospital is at extreme or high risk in an earthquake. It’s incredibly negligent.”
Health Minister Terry Lake was not available to comment and no timeline for planned improvements were given.
However, Providence Health Care CEO Dianne Doyle is convinced the government is committed to the hospital’s evolving concept plan, which included a new ambulatory building and the required seismic upgrades.
“We’re been working with the Ministry of Health. Our project board is meeting on a monthly basis and every message we’ve had [from government] is they’re committed to the process.”
Doyle acknowledged the hospital’s need for upgrades, but said Providence Health Care is constantly in touch with emergency management partners to ensure the health care system can withstand a major earthquake and provide care for patients.
Are you ready?
As the province tests its earthquake readiness Thursday, a recent study suggests British Columbians haven’t done enough in preparation for “the big one.”
According to the BCAA poll released ahead of the Great B.C. ShakeOut, the vast majority of us are aware of the risks but unprepared for a major earthquake.
The poll found 58 per cent of British Columbians know there is a one-in-three chance of a significant quake in the next 50 years and that 75 per cent expect their home to be damaged.
Despite that knowledge, 65 per cent said they don’t know the best way to stay safe in an earthquake, and 78 per cent don’t know how to prepare their home for one.
Fifty-one per cent either don’t have earthquake insurance coverage, or don’t know if they do.