John Horgan announced that the provincial government has greenlit the construction of a new hospital in the Cowichan Valley. (Province of British Columbia/Flickr)

The provincial government announced Friday that it has greenlit the construction of a brand new hospital in the Cowichan Valley.

“People who live in the Cowichan Valley have waited a long time for the hospital they deserve, and that wait will soon be over,” said Premier John Horgan. “The new hospital we’re announcing today will serve people in the valley for decades to come, meaning better health care in their own backyard.”

For 51 years, the Cowichan District Hospital has served those who require medical care within the region. The hospital has 134 beds.

But since the hospital’s opening, the valley’s population has more than doubled. It’s expected to grow another 20 per cent over the next few decades.

“Cowichan District Hospital is 50 years old. The capacity issues it faces on a daily basis are frustrating for patients and the hospital’s dedicated healthcare workers. It was critical that we take action,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “We received a concept plan, and approved it within months, so work could get going as soon as possible, and people could have a new hospital.”

Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, expressed his satisfaction with the announcement.

“Cowichan District Hospital holds a special place in my heart, as well as many other people and health-care workers throughout the region,” he said. “The new, modern hospital will continue the tradition of providing quality care for generations to come.”

A concept plan for the hospital was submitted to the health ministry in February 2018, and was approved last month.

The finished building is estimated to be nearly triple the size of the current hospital. Construction is expected to begin in 2021.

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