New St. Paul’s Site Adds Critical Minutes To Get West End/Coal Harbour Cardiac Victims to Hospital

It was great news for residents of the downtown eastside, Strathcona and east end … a new $1.9 Billion St. Paul’s Hospital will be built on Station St … east of Main Street and the bus/rail station on Terminal Ave.

As NDP Premier John Horgan announced, the new hospital will include 548 beds … 115 more than the existing site on Burrard … and will be completed by 2026.

But what Horgan did NOT mention is moving the hospital could place West End and Coal Harbour residents suffering from life-threatening heart attacks, strokes etc. at greater risks.

The drive … even in an ambulance with lights and sirens blaring … from Burrard to the new site will add PRECIOUS minutes until anyone from the West End or Coal Harbour makes it to St. Paul’s … with its state of the art cardiac unit and medical expertise.

I have absolutely no doubt that lives will be lost during those critically longer rides.

Anyone who tries these days to navigate the increasingly-congested wide avenues,  confusing maze of one-ways, traffic-calmed arteries, closed former streets, bike lane narrowed obstacle courses through Vancouver’s downtown … knows full well that EXTRA time will be added, even by ambulance,  to every trip from the West End to beyond Main Street.

St. Paul’s officials contend, however, the new site will offer a much improved Emergency arrival area and faster access to cardiac treatment … more than offseting any extra travel time.

Miriam Stewart, St. Paul’s Chief Clinical Planning Officer for St. Paul’s redevelopment also points out West End/Coal Harbour residents suffering strokes and other critical neurological emergencies will continue to be taken by paramedics to Vancouver General Hospital … as they are now.

Mark my words, though,  that greater distance and longer drive WILL become an issue … possibly even the subject of lawsuits against the Province and Vancouver Coastal Health … when the West End/Coal Harbour lose their only acute care hospital and victims die en route, in traffic on their way to the further, new St. Paul’s.

Look at what’s about to happen …. because of the NDP’s decision:

The West End’s 2 square kilometres, with its population of 45,000 and still growing with each massive new tower going up, is reportedly already among the densest residential areas in North America. And a very high percentage of those living there are seniors, more susceptible to the critical emergency health threats where TIME is of the essence when urgent care is needed.

And don’t forget the additional 12,000 people now living in the adjacent … and also still growing … Coal Harbour area.

These areas … 60,000  people … a city on their own … will become the ONLY such highly dense urban area I know of anywhere in Canada or the US without an acute care hospital right in its midst! Not one!!

In fact, even SEPARATED from the closest acute care/trauma hospital by a huge congested downtown core … a concrete and steel wall through which traffic rarely moves well … and sometimes barely moves at all.

And a very high proportion of those living in the West End and Coal Harbour are seniors, more susceptible to sudden life-threatening heart health crises and where TIME is of the essence when urgent Emergency care is needed.

It is dangerous.

And it could … and probably will …. even be legally argued the Province and Coastal Health are negligent in taking away the only acute care hospital in the West End  … leaving such a dense urban area and large population in a more precarious state.

The  existing Primary Care Community Health Center on Hornby, which handles cuts, sprains, counselling, testing etc. just can’t and won’t cut it as a trauma center for anyone to bring in someone suffering with any critical injury or illness.

What makes the abandoning of the West End site even more questionable is that the downtown eastside, as well as the West End and Coal Harbour would ALL have still been easily accessible to a redeveloped , expanded and improved Burrard/Davie site.

And the Strathcona and east side already have easy, rapid access along major arteries to BOTH Mount St. Joseph Hospital on Kingsway and Vancouver General Hospital on West 12th Ave. … without having to traverse/navigate that concrete/steel central core.

Do they really need or deserve a THIRD acute care facility … two of them HUGE … while the West End and Coal Harbour have NONE???

St. Paul’s, as an institution, deserves NEW life, NEW funding, NEW expansion … but it should have and could have been done by redeveloping its existing site and the additional land and properties located along Burrard and Davie to the south.

But the NDP government has decided to push ahead with the move to the flats near the train/bus station.

Why is it going ahead now after 12 years of LOTS of questions and delays and despite the potential negative impact on the West End and Coal Harbour ?

I fear it’s mostly to benefit and cater to and cash in from land developers, who have long coveted the Burrard Street site, and also so the NDP can push its own political agenda … catering to the downtown eastside, Strathcona, Commercial and east end … over West Enders and Coal Harbour residents.

Even though some will pay with their lives.

Harv Oberfeld

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55 Responses to New St. Paul’s Site Adds Critical Minutes To Get West End/Coal Harbour Cardiac Victims to Hospital

  1. BMCQ says:

    This Blog Topic is very important for ALL the Citizens of B.C., not just the West End, Vancouver and YVR.

    The New St. Pauls Hospital needs to be done right and it needs to serve the Region as a whole and it certainly needs to continue to serve the People of the West End, Coal Harbour and Vancouver West.

    To me the MOST Important Cog in the Wheel is the most important Georgia Viaducts must remain in place, it is a must.

    Pandering by Ill Informed, Inept, and Immature, Politicians to a Ridiculous SJW, Anti Car, Crowd that pay no attention to facts need to re visit the whole St. Pauls Georgia Viaduct connection

    As Harvey stated there are will be close to 100,000 Residents in the West End within only a few years and there is NO better way to transport Ill People from the West End to Main St. than the Georgia Viaducts. Anyone telling you different is has been spending the day in the Haze of Legal Marijuana and or Opium. Or perhaps they are just simply foolish.

    The current St. Pauls Property is worth about $ 700 Million in todays Dollars and the new Hospital will cost somewhere about $ 1.5 Billion after the unavoidable Over Runs, that could cover close to half the cost of the new Facility which should include a Satellite UBC Campus and Teaching Hospital.

    he UBC Satellite along with the Teaching Hospital could host and accommodate up to a third of the UBC Student Housing, Faculty, and Staff.

    Much of the Student Housing at UBC would no longer be required and that would be a wonderful peaceful location for Senior Retired People on Fixed Incomes. Those same Seniors are peaceful, do not need to travel East every single day so there would be no need to expand Transit on Broadway in any form.

    Those same seniors would then be spending some Money saved in Kitsilano, Point, Grey, Granville Island, and Downtown Restaurants and other Commercial Ventures.

    Student Housing would be great for Seniors as they would be comfortable with clean efficient rooms with a Central Kitchen and Social Area.

    The New Hospital and UBC Campus would then be right on the Main St. Sky Train Station and in turn the once 2010 Olympics Rail Line between Main and Cambie St. could be used to connect St. Pauls, the UBC Satellite Campus and Teaching Hospital to the Richmond Canada Line which will also connect China Town to Richmond which would be a Win Win.

    By erecting a Tower behind St. Pauls for Teaching and accommodating up to a third of UBC Students and Student Housing it would take pressure off of the Broadway Corridor and a Sky Train Subway would no longer required. That alone would save the Tax Payers what $ 5 Billion Dollars? Imagine that.

    That saved Funding from the UBC Sky Train Subway could then be used to have Sky Train Routing and Stations from Langley 264th right down the Median between the # 1 Highway over the Port Man Bridge intersecting with the New West Sky Train to Downtown Vancouver.

    Park and Rides at 264, 232, 200, and where ever else it makes sense, eventually connecting to Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

    The Land is Free and there would not be much in the way of an Elevated Line and the Technology is good and there would be no need to adopt for another system.

    There is more here but I do not want to VEER OFF TOPIC.

    I will end this by agreeing with Harvey that the People of the West End and Coal Harbour need Emergency and Acute care as well as Triage.

    I was born in St. Pauls and have worked there several times over the years, there is a new Wing of the Building with Parking that could be re launched as a Satellite Emergency Centre, a Base for Ambulances, and Emergency Care for overnight stays. Once stabilized the patient could be taken the next day to the new St. Pauls over the Georgia Viaduct for further care.

    This plan would ensure good Emergency and Ambulatory Care for the People of the West End and that is important as many of those Residents are Senior Pensioners.

    Somehow We the People need to make Foolish Pandering Politicians that the former Senior or current Hard Working Tax Paying People of B.C.
    deserve better from them, let us start today.

    The West End does indeed REQUIRE Emergency Care and Politicians need to speak out on this.

    (Response: It is certainly an issue that should be reviewed. Amazes me (actually maybe not!) that neither the local media nor the legislative reporters have raised the matter … and canvassed paramedics and West End residents to more adequately examine the implications of the move. h.o.)

  2. e.a.f. says:

    I’m very disappointed by the change of location, even though when I go to St. Paul’s parking is difficult and trying to drive around the block is a 20 minute exercise in frustration.
    (Its easier to go from Nanaimo to St. Paul’s than it is to Victoria.)

    St. Paul’s has always been known as the hospital for the West End and that general area. It is my impression this new hospital will not be for just those in the West End, but more of a “center of excellence” for the province. Of course, that leaves the question, what about the people who are currently served by St. Paul’s.

    Harvey you have very valid points and it is my impression that as time passes, more people will move into the area.

    the plan is to sell the land St. Paul’s sits on, to pay for the new hospital. That in my opinion, is a huge mistake. This land, once sold can never be purchased again by the government. If they want to do 50 to 100 year leases, fine, but to actually sell and let go of it, stupid, stupid, stupid. In 50 years or longer, one level of government or another will need that land for something. This is short term thinking. The government will still be around in 100 to 500 years and we don’t need to sell more of our City to foreign interests. They rarely are our interest.

    In planning for the future, I’d rather the province carry the debt of the new hospital and keep the land because it would be an asset. Land is too precious now to be sold by any level of government. We will need it within 50 years. Just have a look at how much the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria have grown in the past 30 years or even the past 50 years. New schools don’t have half the play area older schools have because it costs too much to purchase additional land. If its money the government is worried about, stop Site C. and build a new hospital and keep St. Paul’s.

    One person explained to me, that the new hospital is meant to provide services for a far greater area than the west end and getting from east of Boundry Rd. to St. Paul’s can take over an hour.

    Yes, people may well die from the longer drive from the West End to the new hospital, but it could be said that people die all the time in this province from having to travel long distances. We need only look at Port Alice, where one doctor left and one nurse is retiring. VIHA is not replacing them and closing their health care clinic on weekends. (their version of a hospital) As the taxpayers of that town said, heart attacks don’t just come on week days and Port Alice is a remote community. Some roads in this province are closed from time to time because of storms.

    One news report advised us, it would be less expensive to build a new hospital than “renovate” St. Paul’s because of the need for seismic upgrading. The message I got out of that was, in the event of an earthquake, forget the West End and all those towers, focus on the rest of the province. Given the growth rate of this province, especially the core area, the province needs the new hospital and the old one and certainly that land St. Paul’s sits on ought NEVER to be sold. It will be needed in another 30 years.

    Many people in fact moved to the West End because of St. Paul’s. As I age the West End was one of the places I considered living because of St. Paul’s and the community, parks, shops, semi affordable housing, etc.

    The other spot was New Westminster because of the high level of health care in their hospital.

    (Response: A comprehensive redevelopment of the Burrard site and adjacent area could deal wish the parking issue … just look at the huge towers nearby with thousands of parking spaces beneath them. I know it will never be possible to prevent consequences for people having to travel great distances to hospital … but surely when there are 60,000 people living in a very concentrated area … there should be an acute care hospital in their IMMEDIATE midst … instead of adding a THIRD hospital to the eastside and VGH areas. h.o)

  3. david hadaway says:

    My chief concern over this site, and I’m a resident of Strathcona, is the fact that it is built up ground that was scarcely a century ago mudflats and tidal water. No doubt the hospital will be built using the most advanced seismic techniques but why take an avoidable risk given the demands that will be placed on health care when the ‘big one’ occurs?

    There would be obvious logistic problems rebuilding on the existing site but at least it is solid ground, as well as being well placed for a larger proportion of the population.

    (Response: I trust St Paul’s officials, the architects, engineers, city inspectors etc would ensure the site is properly and safely developed. But I see no reason why a larger, more advanced replacement could not be done at the existing and adjacent sites … much closer to where it is clearly needed in view of the easy access from other areas to both Mt St Joseph AND VGH. h.o)

  4. 13 says:

    Wow, what an opportunity. My oldest son was born at St Pauls, my dad had orthopedic surgery at St Pauls, I have a bionic right ankle rebuilt by a skilled surgeon at St Pauls. Dr Mconkey? I believe.
    I washed dishes at the Metro Broiler at Davie and Burrard and many of the staff at St Pauls ate at that restaurant. Harveys concern over the lost service to the West End has been addressed by BMCQ. Lets make sure that some of the billions that the sale of very valuable property is spent on a Satellite facility that is better than anyone could imagine.
    Once again this is a once in a lifetime opportunity I pray that all 3 levels of trough dwellers put aside their greed and ensure that every dollar spent on this project has a 100% return on investment.
    When building hospitals ,schools, and other public buildings permits fees and other impediments should be waived or greatly reduced.
    As far as moving parts of UBC to an area already well served by Skytain, thus ending the need to build anything along West Broadway and saving billions (many billions) its is an idea that is pure genius. I would love to see some of the political readers of Harveys blog LATCH on to that idea. Im sure BMCQ wouldnt mind even if they claimed credit for coming up with such an intelligent plan that solves SO MANY different needs. AND for all the leftwingers that always wonder how to save money without raising taxes
    BMCQ has laid it out in black and white. Hopefully your anger and your angst about a business savy solution that doesnt include taxes and tolls has been eliminated once and for all.

    (Response: I understand why the NDP made the decision… and contend it’s as much because of ideology as anything else. But where are the Liberals? As Opposition, they should be leading the questioning and criticism of this decision and its implications for so many in the West End and Coal Harbour. And let’s keep it real …it’s not as if they would alienating much support on the downtown east side or Strathcona. h.o.)

  5. e.a.f. says:

    I suspect the government would like to unload Mount St. Joseph. It sits on very valuable land. Be prepared to see it sold once the new St. Paul’s is up and running.

    When I was young, old people I knew remembered they played on those mud flats when they were young. David Hadaway, has a point about that land and how it would survive in an earthquake with a tidal wave. The hospital may stand, but will the land around it. How will they get to it. St. Paul’s is a much better location in case of an earthquake. Harvey you may trust all those concerned with building it. I don’t especially if some company like SNC lavalin built it. Then there is the matter of cost over runs. When you start looking for bed rock to anchor the hospital to, you could run up a very large bill.

    A re built Mount St. Joe’s with lots of land on site and a rebuilt St. Paul’s works for me. any how as an atheist I’m partial to Catholic hospitals, especially St. Paul’s. Hey, just in case.

    The previous and current governments want the new site, but I would want a hospital to remain at the old site for future use and no selling of the land. St. Paul’s has stood for over a hundred years. Lets not destroy all of our city’s history to the gods of greed and development.

  6. 13 says:

    @eaf. Talk about a waste of tax payer funds. “St Pauls has stood for over a hundred years” If St pauls was a church, or an government building or a hotel maybe save for historical reasons. Its a functioning hospital not a tourist destination. Bulldoze, sell, relocate, build state of the art, save lives and heal the sick. Peoples wellness before fond memories.

  7. NVG says:

    H.O. “…I have absolutely no doubt that lives will be lost during those critically longer rides.”

    The population of Vancouver is 631,000. Downtown/Coal Harbour/? population 60,000- 100,000? One-tenth of the population of Vancouver. The three other hospitals in Vancouver are well south of Terminal Avenue with Mount St. Joseph sitting near Fraser on Kingsway. There’s nothing to the east of that until Burnaby General Hospital (three blocks east of Boundary Road and six blocks to south of Canada Way).

    Vancouver’s North East quadrant? How many lives have already been lost because of the limited corridors to St. Paul’s?

    How about the often predicted Earthquake?

    You want to get away from the high towers with limited exit routes of Burrard BRIDGE, Granville BRIDGE, Cambie BRIDGE, Hastings street).

    The downtown core is an ISLAND, people would want to flee.

    However, there will definitely have to be a street name change. ‘Terminal Avenue’ will have to go and be replaced with something more uplifting (Jim Pattison).

    (Replace: The difference in travel ties is that there are major arteries from the east side of the city that can be used to get people to an acute care hospital WITHOUT navigating the GREAT WALL of downtown towers, congested streets and even now-closed or narrower one way streets and bike lane-restricting barriers …unlike any other parts of the city. West End cardiac emergency patients will REAP the results of Vision’s anti-car initiatives … now made worse by the NDP’s decision, abandoning them. h.o.)

  8. tf says:

    A few comments to the issue —
    • to say that the NDP pushed this wouldn’t be accurate. Providence Health presented the project to the Strathcona Residents Association a number of years ago, while we still had a BC Liberal government. It already felt it was a fait accompli. There was nothing we could say in opposition that they couldn’t answer.
    • the biggest reason they said for the location was that the land was promised and available.
    • to trust that the engineers have done their due diligence is neglectful. Providence Health is tooting the new hospital as “disaster preparedness” because in answer to the question, they say themselves – “we planned the emergency wing on the north end of the site because that is the area that is closest to bedrock.” So let’s deduce that the rest of the site is not on bedrock.
    • and what does a disaster preparedness site need? Roads built on solid ground, overpasses that won’t collapse in an earthquake, flooding underground floors due to rising shorelines, etc.
    • and finally – it is not great news to the residents of Strathcona to build this major development in the neighbourhood. We already are trying to address the increase of traffic coming to our neighbourhood with the removal of the Viaducts, as well as the 300% increase of Port traffic, and the doubling of the BNI rail line. The Hospital location is forcing the building of new roads and railway overpasses. And the tower development for offices, clinics and housing, that will follow the Hospital – property taxes are already skyhigh due to the Local Area Plan of highrise towers along Hastings.
    • if you want to see a community under pressure, look to the Downtown Eastside – north from the Port, east from the railways, south from the Hospital and the False Creek Flats Plan (new colleges and new skytrain line), and west from the movement of condos into Chinatown.
    • from the great David Bowie and Queen – “Pressure: pushing down on me,
    Pressing down on you, no man ask for.
    Under pressure that burns a building down,
    Splits a family in two,
    Puts people on streets.

    Chippin’ around, kick my brains ’round the floor.
    These are the days: it never rains but it pours.
    People on streets.
    People on streets.
    It’s the terror of knowing
    What this world is about.
    Watching some good friends screaming,
    “Let me out!”

    (Response: You raise some terrific points …enough to show the move should be re-considered for a number of reasons beyond the exposure of West Enders to more serious delays in getting to an acute care hospital. The traffic from a facility considerably larger than the current St Paul’s WILL indeed impact the whole area around it; and as you and others have noted, the site itself will pose challenges for construction. As for which party is responsible, you are correct: it came up during the Liberals tenure …I did stories on it back then, including quoting paramedics and their concerns about the longer transport time for critically ill cardiac patient. However, the Libs did NOT proceed …it’s the NDP government that gave it the go ahead… a mistake in my view, done for political/ideological reasons … that will cost some their lives. h.o.)

  9. hawgwash says:

    NVG, thanks for adding some reason and logic.

    I had it in mind to respond earlier but it would have been a one and done comment about how red the herring is on people dying on the way to the new hospital.

    How many elderly from Commercial Drive, how many longshormen, how many jockies, have died in that long hall to the current St Pauls?

    Sorry I can’t find the data so they are either insignificant numbers or unimportant lives.

    So yeah, NVG, thanks for helping me out and adding more to the mix. Heads up though, the sky might fall.

  10. SG says:

    Keeping it real, it’s difficult for those of us trying to scratch out a living in rural BC, livening literally multiple hours away from any critical care facility, to worry about the few extra minutes it would take to get to the new hospital location.

    (Response: You should be very thankful those living in the large urban areas don’t feel that same lack of caring or concern you express ….. about people living in sparsely populated areas when it comes to providing you with highways, schools, fire fighting services, policing, social assistance and yes, very expensive remote health care coverage and air ambulance services, as well all kinds of other public services. Just FYI I do not live in either the West End or Coal Harbour. It’s called caring about each other …not just MOI! h.o.)

  11. hawgwash says:

    SG at 10 = apples
    HO at 10 = oranges
    I do believe SG was alluding to the fact city folk are whining about the extra few minutes it might take someone to drive to the new hospital as opposed to rural folks needin an all day trek for the same service.

    “Entitlement” is the word SG didn’t use.

  12. DBW says:

    Well Harvey, when I read your topic I thought to myself, I’ve got nothing to say here. Don’t live in Vancouver.

    Then your response to SG.

    First off, a few years ago during a routine eye appointment, the optometrist realized I had a detached retina. Not from trauma of any kind, just age- related.

    They wanted to send me to Vancouver immediately but the last flight of the day had just left. I was sent out on the morning flight and told not to take the bus to the NewWest clinic but to cab it. In her mind this was an emergency, every minute counted. The specialist reattached the retina that day.

    Still I was forced to stay in a hotel for a few days until the doctor said all was well and then I was told to take the two day bus ride home because the gas bubble in my eye did not allow for air travel.

    I am not complaining. Certainly my case was not life and death, just the potential lose of sight in one eye. But it is an example of what SG is referring to.

    So I was surprised at your dismissal of his point. But I was even more surprised at your contention that people up north should be grateful for all that you big city people have done for us – schools and hospitals and roads and public services as if the hard working people that are my neighbours contribute nothing to this province.

    (Response: You, and probably SG, missed my point … I suspect for political reasons: we should NOT assess medical hospital decisions based on arguments like …. since those of us in rural areas have to travel, big deal with those in the West End/Coal Harbour travelling a few extra minutes. The REAL issue is NO urban community of 60,000 people anywhere in North America has NO acute care or critical care cardiac or trauma facility RIGHT IN THEIR MIDST. None. Yet the NDP is building another one on the East side… a THIRD hospital serving that area , which was already served quite well by TWO terrific acute care hospitals…VGH and Mt. St Joseph. Somehow I think you’d understand the impropriety of the decision to sell off the Burrard site to developers and get rid of the ONLY full hospital west of Burrard in that HUGELY populated area … if the Liberals/Christy Clark did it! h.o)

  13. e.a.f. says:

    Some living in rural areas maybe of the opinion, we all pay the same taxes, so why aren’t we afforded equal services. That is what it boils down to in my opinion. We pay equal taxes, but we certainly don’t have the same government services. To start with the majority of roads, bridges, transit, etc. are all in the lower mainland and those in the rural areas help pay for it. Does any one in government ever think gee those taxpayers in rural areas might be entitled to equal health care?

    We certainly didn’t get it with the B.C. Liebercons. We’re getting a tad more from the NDP with the clinics, but then in Port Alice, not so much.

    I get why people are complaining about the situation in Vancouver, when they have to travel greater lengths. If you need cancer treatments, you frequently have to travel outside of your home area, like the Comox Valley to Victoria. if you need to see a specialist, you may have to travel to Nanaimo or Victoria. We have to pay for that ourselves or rely on a community volunteer service. The census advised the population of the Comox Valley was 66,527 in 2016 and its growing fast and faster. the new privatized hospital (p3) has fewer beds than the old one and you can’t land the helicopter at it, it needs to be done at the old hospital and then you have to take an ambulance ride of 10 to 15 minutes to the new one. Talk about deaths.

    You need heart surgery, you have to get to Victoria. Now if its an emergency they send the helicopter, but if its a scheduled surgery, you have to find your way to Victoria and back.

    Now don’t get me wrong. B.C. has a very good health care system, even if it needs a lot of improvement. However, that will take a lot of money we don’t want to spend or need to spend some where else.

    Living in rural areas frequently is a person choice. If we don’t like the health care we can move, if people could afford to. However, there are many people who live in rural areas who keep this province humming along economically because they work in resource industries.

    Having to travel a few minutes more to the new hospital, well suck it up. There are many who have to travel half an hour to a hospital and then need to be air “vaked” to somewhere else. (I know that comment is uncalled for)

    Now all of this aside, many of us live in areas where it takes ambulances a long time to get to, half an hour, or more. However, many of those towns have some wonderful people, the volunteer fire fighters, who do amazing work to keep you alive until that ambulance gets there.

    As much as we may complain here about health care, we do have a great system in Canada, because in spite of our wait/travel times, we do get seen and we do get treatment. If its critical, we get care faster. Most importantly not much of it depends upon how rich or poor we are.

    We need a hospital in the West End and we need a new one, for the province some where in Vancouver, but I don’t know if the proposed location for the new St. Paul’s is the right one. It would be nice if the new major hospital were built some where outside of the Lower mainland, but doctors don’t always want to move to these areas.

  14. Diverdarren says:

    Harvey, total agreement that the West End needs a hospital for all the reasons you lay out.

    All I can add is…

    Spencer Chandra- Herbert NDP MLA

    He certainly had a lot to say about the debate during the time around 2014-15 regarding the Liberals examining a move or a rebuild St Paul’s. Eventually the Liberals decided to rebuild then subsequently changed their minds to go with the move plan.

    A quick google of news reports at the time show Spencer-Herbert fighting hard in NDP Opposition for the rebuild option of St Paul’s and taking it as a victory when the Liberals pledged to keep the hospital in the West End. And, did he ever make political hay out of the Liberal’s flip on that pledge.

    However it’s a little tougher now to go against your own party and his shinny new Premier. In fact I’d say he’s gone a bit quiet on behalf of his constituents.

    Also odd is that if you look at the “news” portion of his website you’ll find a link to a 2015 statement on St. Paul’s, but click it and you’ll get “Error 404- Not Found”

    Hmmmm… well that was a long time ago, we can’t expect Silent Spencer to keep stories on his website from 2015, can we?

    Except, here is a working link to his “news” from 2014.

    I’d say Silent Spencer is selectively cleaning up the history a bit, now that the boss says the move is on.

    (Response: GREAT info!! Thanks for this. Spencer Herbert should show he has the ethics, integrity and the true interests of his West End constituents at heart and speak up for St Pauls to be rebuilt on Burrard …. what he apparently used to believe. And WHERE are the Vancouver and BC media on this and Spencer’s silence???? Waiting for a press release??? h.o)

  15. BMCQ says:

    The Main St. St Paul’s was proposal originally announced by the B.C. Liberals as an over 700 Bed Facility several years ago.

    As I earlier mentioned WE Downtown needs a Satellite Triage, Emergency Ward, Ambulance Centre of say 3o Beds somewhere close to the current Burrard Location.

    It just so happens that the City/Province already has the former Bosley Hotel also once known as the Doric Howe Motor Hotel On Howe at Helmcken which is now Social Housing.

    That Facility is located only 2 Blocks away from the Current SPH and would be ideal for an Emergency, Triage, Ambulance Care Centre, the Social Housing component could be moved elsewhere. It is a natural fit.

    To those concerned about well Equipped Medical Hospitals not in some cities and towns in B.C. i truly sympathies as we all have friends and family in more remote rural areas. Think of the people that need to travel for Cancer Treatment let alone Eye Surgery.

    Perhaps because of that we might get more agreement when we demand Control ofvGovernment Waste, Bloat, Creep, and Abuse of Tax Payer Funds in areas like the Speakers Office.

    Add it all up and we might be able to Erect more Full Service Hospital Treatment and Cancer Centers closer to towns and the North and other areas of B.C.

    I can only imagine what kind of a Hospital and University could be built in Prince Rupert if the soon to be sent to the scrap heal Canadian PM would force through a Northern Gateway Oil and Gas Pipeline and Terminals to PR and or Kitimat.

    Unfortunately Population is very important for any community to demand certain important Developments like Major Hospitals.

    A good reason for Governmnts to become more Acountable, Pro Active, Assertive, better Managers, and Non Political and serve All of the People, Not Just Special Interests.

    Without a Healthy Buoyant Economy generating Employment, Economic Growth, and Tax Revenues it is most difficult to expect prosperity.

    Even the most Jaded, Bitter, Angry, Lonely, Leftist should Grasp that fact.

    (Response: A 30-bed triage or Emergency centre would not be adequate. For Cardiac patients … and there are MANY MANY seniors now in the West end and Coal Harbour .. even a few minutes can spell the difference between life and death. They NEED full critical care expertise and facilities. St Paul’s should be rebuilt on its existing site and adjoining properties. That would maintain the better setup we have now: three hospitals (four if you include UBC and five if you add Burnaby General … as well as Childrens and Womens) all geographically spread out to best serve the city… without leaving 60,000 people in the city’s most densely populated area without a hospital in their midst. h.o)

  16. e.a.f. says:

    DiverDan, at 14, interesting, but have you ever seen Sean Holman’s documentary “Whipped”. Its all about party whips and what happens when a party forms government and what happens to politicians who “disobey” the party.

    If he wants a career in politics, he’s going to have to shut up.

    it is doubtful he can run as an independent because he won’t have the money to run.

    Oh, god don’t add Burnaby General. I’d rather go to the Pet hospital on Boundary Rd.

    Given the number of people living in the West End and surrounding area, a 150 bed hospital would work, with a cardiac unit. Then build the other one on the new site. selling the current St. Paul’s site is very short sighted. If the government doesn’t need it this decade for something, they’ll need it in 20 or 30 years, so keep the land.

    BMCQ, omg, you are old than I thought, remember the old Doric Howe. Stock brokers used to go have breakfast there Sat. mornings if they’d been up all night partying from winning on Friday. It actually is too far out of the West End. O.K. perhaps you’re not so old, for seniors, the difference in distance is a lot, especially if we’re on the shoe lace express.

  17. hawgwash says:

    Harvey, that stuff you stepped in back at post 10 is too sticky to be got rid of with the spin at post 12.

    Those who hitched up with SG didn’t do it for political reasons. They just kept it real while you blew it, by missing SG’s point.

    I’m surprised you didn’t toss the ultimate city rationale that SG chose to live in the sticks, so too bad.

    Anyway SG, I hope you manage to get down to the big smoke once in a while, to cross your shiny new Port Mann bridge, park at your convention centre or stadium and take your Canada Line out to your Richmond oval.

  18. 13 says:

    @eaf, maybe diver hasnt seen Sean Holmans documentary “Whipped”
    Come on now , who can tell me another person that hasnt seen that documentary?
    Jody Wilson Raybould

  19. BMCQ says:

    The Doric Howe Bosleys is less than 200 yards from the current SPH, directly behind the wall Centre next to the Holiday Inn and it has 60 rooms on three stories with a ground floor and lots of parking with a Lobby Restaurant and more.

    That building would work for a small Hospital ER and Ambulance Terminal. An ideal spot for Emergency, Heart/Cardiac and anything else for a night, day or two then release or transfer to new SPH.

    You cannot get closer to the WE, i spent a lot of time down there as friends of mine are in the Nightclub, Bar, and Restaurant Business all over the WE and Granville Strip including Celebrities Nightclub.

    I also must admit I started frequenting most of those when I was about 16 years old. Yes I admit to an ill spent youth.

    I must admit I spent a lot of time at the Dover Arms, the Sylvia, Hys st the Sands, Cactus Club, and many more.
    Was at the Sylvia for Breakfast last Saturday.

    Even owned a nice unit at Davie and Pacific for a while.

    Even played Pool at Bosleys with Larry Campbell and Jim Green, how is that for a shock.

    The WE was/is my Hood, I know it well and even though Mayor Gregor and other SJW turned a lot of it into a SH I still am very very fond of it and may one day end up living back down there at the Eugenia.

    My Father died in SPH a few years ago after a fight/confrontation with a Drug Addled Repeat Prolific Offender during a Home Invasion Robbery in my Apartment there.

    My Father was cut twice on an arm and was treated and released. Two days later I rushed him the 3 blocks two SPH as he was having trouble, it turned out he had a Brain Bleed which the Dr determined had started during the altercation.

    SPH Staff do/did a wonderful caring job under difficult circumstances as the Hospital is old, difficult to maneuver in, lacks continuity, and badly needs replacing.

    The building is beyond repair and it would be impossible to rebuild, bring up to code, and Seismic Retrofit is absolutely out of the question.

    Then to top it off you cannot rebuild on the same footprint because it would take five years to decommission and re erect another Hospital.

    Please explain where Patients would be treated in the meantime.

    No one needs to be on the Shoe Lace Express, the Ambulance Service never turns any one in need away.

  20. Jay says:

    Ok, as a paramedic who has worked in vancouver, victoria and the mid island, i can say that your comments are unfortunately fear mongering. There is no condition that will be saved by a few extra minutes other then a major trauma and those are mainly because they need blood products and not what we have on our units.
    Strokes and STEMI heart attacks are not going to have significant outcome changes due to a few minutes lost in transport. If they were then our ambulance policies would not tell us to go ROUTINE (non lights and sirens) to hospital with strokes and in most cases with STEMIS is ALS is attending. The time is muscle/brain is true but we have to get them there and our crews are well versed in where to go to get aid quickly. VGH st Pauls and Lion Gate are all within the range of the downtown core. Hell even in a pinch if shit really hit the fan you could divert to Royal columbian for all the same issues and be within the windows for treatment that the AMA and CMA indicate for stroke and STEMI.
    The reality is that someone who has minutes to live will likely not survive regardless of where the hospital is.
    Will quicker arival change the outcome? Sure, advances in stroke treatment and STEMI treatment have come along way but not for near death patients. This is for patients who come in stable or near stable and can be treated quickly, not those that need rescusitation efforts as they need to be stabilized first.
    Anyway, Vancouver has one of the largest sets of recieving hospitals I have seen. Nanaimo has 1, Victoria 2, Vancouver more than a dozen and 4 of them are major trauma and cardiac centers so if you wanna “keep it real” stop fearmongering and realize that compromises need to be made, ambulance crews know how to do thier jobs very well, they are very well trained and can get people to a place they need to go fast, but not everyone is gonna walk away from strokes and heart attacks regardless if they were on the front steps of a hospital. Sometimes your number is up.

    (Response: If a couple of minutes don’t matter…better end all those sirens and traffic violations we hear/see on our streets and all those “code Blues” we hear in hospitals …which send medical staff rushing to assist in cardiac failures. Minutes matter. And your comments also fail to address the very basic question of fairness: WHY would it be better to have a THIRD hospital so easily/quickly serving those on the east side …and NONE in the West End/Coal Harbour area … with their 60,000 and growing population??? h.o)

  21. BMCQ says:

    Jay – 20

    You and I have had a few disagreements on various other Topics on this Blog. We agreed to disagree.

    I was not necessarily holding myself up as the Authority, I was relying on Friends and Relatives that are/were paramedics, Fire, Police, and ER Doctors and Nurses.

    I take some of your points here and personally I value your contribution but I also must agree with much of what Harvey says in his Response to you.

    Would you care to now comment on this question.

    I believe it is a very dangerous decision for the Former Vancouver City Council and this one to plan to doa way with the Georgia Viaducts as it will make it vey difficult to travel from DWE to SPH Main St.

    To me it makes absolutely NO Sense.

    What say You?

    What about my proposal of the Satellite ER, Cardiac Treatment, and Triage close to the current SPH?

    I believe as it now stands the Ambulance Service is always looking for more Stations.

    I am also told that in most cases the Ambulance Stations leave much to be desired. I am told that the Ambulance Crews should have much better Facilities to rest and get themselves and equipment ready for the next call.

    I look forward to your comments.

  22. SG says:

    Harvey, you’re a little off base with your comment to my post #10.
    You’re insinuating that those of us in rural BC should be thankful that urban BC providers rural BC all the services and infrastructure you mentioned. It’s actually the other way round, not too many years ago 50 cents of every dollar in BC was generated from the forest industry, it’s certainly not that high now but forestry combined with agricultural, mining, tourism, oil and gas etc in rural BC is undoubtedly more than 50 cents of every dollar generated in BC (legitimate dollars, not money laundering dollars that have made the news recently). Rural BC pays its own share.

  23. hawgwash says:

    Jay; I’m sure you know what a narcissist is so I won’t go there.

    Thank you for your input; it’s always nice to get a hands on perspective as opposed to friends and family. Everyone has a cousin who says (fill in the blank) right?

    Now, a question for you; how many times have you rushed to a hospital, with a critical time window, only to be held up on arrival because of higher priorities, staffing or equipment limits?

  24. e.a.f. says:

    Jay at 20, your information is quite correct.

    We also might want to consider, some times our number is just up. Doesn’t matter where you have the stroke or heart attack, you’re going to die. Haven’t figured it all out yet and never will, but some people die, even if they have that attack or stroke right in the hospital and then others, travel some distance to a hospital and survive.

    Harvey, in your response to Jay, #20, why would the Comox Valley not get the same treatment as the West End. They have approx. the same population. The Comox Valley doesn’t have the same level of health care as the West End and most likely won’t in the next 50 to 100 years. yes, I still agree the West End needs a hospital.

    I am aware no one is refused service by the Ambulance Service, however, you’d be surprised how many people still will walk or drive themselves to a hospital having a heart attack instead of calling an ambulance.

    During all of these conversations we haven’t addressed what Vancouver will be like in another 30 or more years. The news is reporting a large number of schools will be closing because due to declining enrollment. As more people move out of Greater Vancouver into the Fraser Valley, perhaps the next really big hospital, center for excellence, etc. needs to be in Surrey or around Royal Columbian.

    When you look at it, Surrey and Vancouver have approx. the same population, but Surrey has fewer hospitals. Surrey has room to expand because it has a huge land mass, Vancouver, not so much compared to Surrey. We know Surrey’s school are over crowded, Vancouver will be closing a lot of them. I know its off of the direct topic, but given we are discussing hospitals, ……… yes, I know the NDP has announced Surrey is going to have another hospital built, but its going to need at least a 3rd and 4th one within 20 years. Just look at how much the FraserValley has grown in the past 60 years or even 20 years.

  25. Jay says:


    Strangely enough if you look at the policies that have come out over the years, the number of lights and siren responses have gone down and definitely the number of transports using lights and sirens have all but disappeared.
    The main reason there are lights and siren responses are because of the dispatch system, not the necessity that we get there quickly.
    Now in the case of strokes and heart attacks do you know the current treatments and guidelines? THe gold standard for heart attack is 90 minutes from onset to cath lab. Since vancouver has 4 cath lab hospitals (or did when i last worked there) and stemi is one of the conditions that causes a paramedic crew to divert away from a local hospital, you can generally make it within that window if…IF the patient called early enough.
    Stroke care can be initiated within 6 hours of onset. Yes the earlier the better but most times pts are treated with drugs before definitve care.
    You want to talk fairness? Vancouver island has a huge population and all of the cardiac and stroke care centers are locatede in Victoria. So if you choos to live north of ladysmith well you get downgraded care and delays. Even if we stat transfer a patient to victoria they generally will fall outside the cardiac window and usually outside the stroke window due to onset time and delays at the local hospital.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think that it is likely a bad idea moving the hospital but I think the current site is just too small and also retro fitting the hospital would probably cost more then to build new.
    As for a local center, sure. UBC did that sort of thing. However it won’t happen as health authorities like to consolidate specialists in one area. Having sattelite cardiac and stroke clinics is very unlikely to happen as they would need CT scanners, ORs ICUs and all the doctors and nurses and specialists that go along with those.
    In the end any doctors office can do a 12 lead ekg or stroke assessment, from there they need transport.
    As for the ambulance stations, yeah they suck. Putting the stations on as an attachment to newly built hospitals would be a good idea, provided it allows the ambulances to stay within their designated response are.

    In the end I tend to agree with the basic premise you are stating Harvey. It makes sense to have a hospital in the growing areas. Parkville-Qualicum has wanted one for years. But there is already a doctor shortage, nursing shortage, specialist shortage and funding shortage so someone is going to lose out and decisions even unpopular ones have to be made.

  26. e.a.f. says:

    Now that you mention Parksville, between them Qual., Bowser, and Lantzville, the 2016 census advises they have a population of 25,791. Since that census I’d suggest the population has grown by at least 5k. Its into an ambulance and race to Nanaimo and hope the highway in Nanoose Bay doesn’t have an accident and is closed. (there is no go around)

    Nanaimo’s population was approx. 90K last year. and growing. Then there are the districts surrounding Nanaimo. We’re a growing community and the hospital does an excellent job of keeping you alive.

    Ladysmith had a hospital but like many, the B.C. Lieberals down graded it to a clinic and so an ambulance will take you to the Nanaimo hospital. Duncan is going to receive a new hospital per Horgan and they do have scans there. Next stop Victoria, with 2 and having to get past the Malahat.

    We do have a doctor and nurse shortage in the province and when it comes to specialists, there is even a bigger shortage. The B.C. Lieberals did little in my opinion to change that. The NDP is creating clinics which will help in Nanaimo and the Comox Valley, but it doesn’t do a complete job. There is the simple issue of money.

    Given not all are happy in G.B. and the brexit upon them, perhaps the health care ministry ought to try recruiting there. When Ontario had a shortage of nurses back in the 1960/70s,. they went to Ireland and brought back several jets full of nurses who got landed immigrant status.

    I’ve been given to understand Canadian police forces have been recruiting at Scotland Yard……why not doctors and nurses. But best of all we could open more seats to train Canadian workers to become doctors, nurses, LPN, paramedics, etc. along with a whole host of specialists. it can take a year or more to see your ophthalmologist. Not great.

  27. Gene The Bean says:

    Harvey, you are in desperate need of some new commenters.
    Throwing in a few ‘on topic’ points but playing the same tune is becoming painful. I accept my role in this. Others need to do the same.
    Besides what Harvey writes, this is becoming a very hard read. ??

    (Response: It has long been that way: on radio talk shows; in newspaper Letters; and the blogosphere …MOST people enjoy listening, reading etc. but don’t call in or write … or only on rare occasions. I too wish more would take part in our discussions: but I will say this, even I am often pleasantly surprised and appreciative at the terrific and in-depth information and resources people on here often provide. And if more want to let us … and those in government or the media … know exactly how THEY feel about a topic, I’m happy to give them the forum to do it. ho.)

  28. Jay says:


    It does happen but not so often. Mainly because we can call ahead and get the ball rollinglong before we arrive. We have ALS and CCP available who get treatments going that would normally not start until the hospital. The main reason things get bogged down is volume of patients, lack of beds and to be perfectly honest, failure to cope in some people. You would be amazed how many people go to the hospital with no real need to do so. This is why there are waits. Then they call ambulances for the same things beleiving it will get them seen won’t.
    There has been alot of complaints lately by fire departments saying ambulance delays are risking lives. This is again fear mongering. The system is designed to get the higher acuity patients seen first. The first responder system is just that a first response for critical patients not every call. Fire departments fail to understand the sheer volume of non emergency calls we do on a daily basis. If we sent fire on all of those then the fire department would no longer be available to fight fires. Not every code 3 call needs immediate life saving measures. Many are designated code 3 due to the statistical likelyhood of negative outcome but in reality once a paramedic crew arrives the majority of these types of calls are not life or limb threatening. This is why you rarely see an ambulance leave a scene using it’s lights and sirens.
    Another thing to consider is that code 3 responses are inherantly dangerous to the crews and the public. In an urban area they save very little time while causing significant risk.
    Risk vs benefit always comes into play.

  29. BMCQ says:

    Jay – 25

    Thanks for the insight, this is interesting and not as contentious as our discussion on Opioids.

    Allthough that was also interesting and I still stand by my assertions solutions.

    I fully understand what is necessary for a Satellite SPH close to the current Burrard locations but I feel and believe that with the population increase expected in the WE it is warranted and would pay great dividends and save lives over the years. Keep in mind that there is also a war on the car and Van Councils do everything they can to close off Traffic lanes and create road congestion and ER Patients cannot be transported on transit and Uber and be ensured of timely life saving treatment.

    Do you share my concerns about access to the SPH Main St. from the WE without the Georgia Viaducts? I still believe with the existing Viaducts having a similar overhead Lane X Out Light System guaranteeing a dedicated Ambulance from Georgia to the new SPH would work much like the Stanley Park Causeway it could work from the cab of the Emergency Driver.

    As to the Cross Response to perhaps Emergency Events with both Fire and Ambulance attending?

    Is not some of thst a Union attempting to pad their numbers so as to increase the necessity of hiring more Fire Fighters?

    And finally

    I really like the U.S. Model where Fire Halls so often have Ambulance Stations either attached or in fact part of that Fire Hall with Paramedics and Ambulance part of the same team.

    I believe that makes a lot of sense, offers continuity for logistics and deployment and decreases unnecessary danger of double deployment on streets already restricted by silly decisions by naive and hyper political Politicians who have nothing better to do but empire build.

    Of course there may be a conflict between Civic and Provincial but other jurisdictions seem able to coordinate and amalgamate the two so I am sure we could.

  30. 13 says:

    Gene you are entitled to your opinion but so is everyone else. To tell harvey he needs new comment or and to be as critical of his blog smacks of arrogance. Perhaps it’s just your problem as over the years of following the ho blog a small minority of posters complain about a large majority.

  31. BMCQ says:

    Jay – 25

    I do not know how you feel about this but I also believe if we were able o amalgamate Fire and Ambulance Stations and Personnel it only makes sense to have the same Union Structure for both.

    I am quite sure the Ambulance Personnel would appreciate the better comfort and security of Fire Hall/Station Base Housing and the rest.

    Makes sense and seems logical to me but then again…………


    My Opinion is not worth much with one or two Bitter, Angry, Unhappy, Lonely, Leftist Punters on your Blog that want to only hear opinions like their own in spite of the fact they provide nothing of interest at any time but I would like to say that you perform an important public service and many many people appreciate your time and effort.

    I like the exchanges with DBW, e.a.f., Jay, 13, G. Barry, Helena, NVG, TF, Hadaway, Gilbert, and so many more even if I do not agree with them at all times.

    As you have said yourself, if I do not want to read someone’s post or find them of no interest I am certainly not forced to read them.

    I do read them however because I always think there is a chance I might become better informed and even evolve on some issues.

    Of course there might be one individual that hardly ever offers anything of substance except to only complain about others.

    I suppose I can live with that.

    I suppose the one dissatisfied complainer one this Blog that is unhappy with opinions contrary to his would be happier if the Blog was more like some others where individuals with different opinions are banned.

    Not me.

    Thank You Harvey.

  32. Gene The Bean says:

    13-relax and have another martini.
    I’m looking for new and interesting comments. Harvey’s insight and writing is top notch, 50% of the comments are now seemingly the ramblings of those needing another hobby.
    I can see who comments and essentially tell you what they wrote before reading it.
    I’ll soon be wrapping up my winter vacation in the Costalegre and if I can’t find the interest or the “time” to read it here, sure won’t be doing it at home.
    I know geezers like the same old-same old but let’s keep it real.

  33. e.a.f. says:

    Gene, yes, some of us repeat our points and sometimes I’m one of them. However, being a regular thorough reader, many times people add new information to their comments, so it isn’t the same.

    If more people commented yes, it would be fun, but many are too busy. some bloggers know how many people come to read and depart. If Harvey is happy with this arrangement, we’re all good. When Harvey isn’t, he will either not print our comments or simply write us, telling us, one comment each and you’re done.

    See this was a new comment by you and two of us commented on it. Its blogging or like I say about the current carry on in Ottawa, its politics.

  34. DBW says:

    I took a day to decide if I was going to respond to this so here goes.

    In your response to me @12 you started with this

    You, and probably SG, missed my point … I suspect for political reasons

    And finished with this.

    Somehow I think you’d understand the impropriety of the decision … if the Liberals/Christy Clark did it! h.o)

    To even suggest that what I said was politically motivated is absurd so perhaps I should clarify.

    I am not complaining about the quality of health care in my community. Of course improvements can be made, but I am grateful for what we have despite the too often need for travel to specialists outside our community and even region. People in the north know that not everything is possible and we live with the knowledge that people could be killed in car accidents returning from treatment unavailable in their hometown and that lives may be shortened because the expense, hassle or plain weariness of traveling for cancer treatment is just too burdensome.

    I am not complaining about the need for the best possible health services in major centres. I am forever grateful for the surgeons and nurses at Childrens Hospital for the work they did for our daughter despite my wife and I being holed up in a hotel and off work for 10 days.

    I have no problem with you advocating for the best possible result for St. Pauls and if there is political will to make necessary changes then by all means go for it.

    But seriously, you have a $1.9B state of the art hospital in the works. It has the $75M endorsement of Jimmy Pattison. To be complaining that it is 3K from the original site is … well … taking first world problems to the extreme.

  35. Jay says:


    Closing of any main artery roads is a problem for response, but we adapt pretty quickly. In point of fact, the most direct route is not always the safest, fastest or ideal for the patient.
    THe fire vs ambulance issue seems to be related to the IAFF realizing that prevention has dropped their fire numbers and increased their medical numbers so anyway to keep the numbers up means their budgets are justified. The problem is that every time they are called out and not required it increases the risk of a major motor vehicle accident. It also puts that crew out of service for a time critical call. So the new system which is being chastised by them for reducing the non time critical calls was designed to have them available only for those calls like cardiac arrest, choking etc. This has dropped some departments call volume by 50+% so you can see why their union is concerned.
    As for putting fire and ambulance in the same hall, it works in theory but you’d find if you looked closer at the US model that the paramedics are not treated all that great compared to the fire crews. Now this could be egos, personality clashes or just plain stupidity, who knows, but I suspect it would work great in some areas and others there might be turf conflicts. The crews generally get along but there are still some out there that think they can take over the medical end no problem. Even though they see only the 10% of calls we actually do.

  36. SB says:

    The system in place today as far as first responders is far more advanced than you may know as a former 30 yr firefighter ( volunteer)
    I grew up in Vancouver and most family is there so I visit often and agree with Jay the fire departments all have qualified first responders paramedic crews offer advanced life support and critical care crews that do amazing things training and technology have certainly improved incredibly from the day I started decades ago , the options in Vancouver are very good regardless of where you may be and o new modernized hospital with a good small facility in west end could work very well.

  37. BMCQ says:

    Jay – 35

    Intereting commentary about the
    Paramedics and Fire co habitating, that is basically what i understood. It still makes more sense to me and it should be looked at, absolutely no need to have two departments respond when it is not necessary, it is dangerous and costly.

    Still stand by comments about same Union.

    I have friends and family on VPD and VFD and they also are continually bickering about similar things. VPD attempt to convince everyone that VFD do nothing but sleep, you know the drill.

    Most Fires today are either Arson and Smoking Cigarettes or Cooking Drugs, VFD are taking advantage and the City should step in.

    Again, City of Vancouver should be somehow overruled by Province and maintain Viaducts, it is simply just crazy to keep up the war on the car when lives are at risk. Let alone the poor Sap going into or out of Downtown for work or various events. Ridiculous.

    Why cannot Politicians In Vancouver stick to collecting my Garbage, fixing Pot Holes, controlling TAXES, and leave the SJW B.S. to the Province.

    Thanks for insight Jay.

  38. BMCQ says:

    SB – 36

    Makes sense to me.

  39. hawgwash says:

    Boy, when I consider the personalities, of the firefighters I know, especially as a group and the few BCAS personell I’ve met, that is just not a marriage that would last.

  40. e.a.f. says:

    DBW, always respond! It will make you feel better, trust me…………..

    You are oh so correct, we are discussing first world problems and some times its a good thing to look at what we are discussing, thinking about, complaining, etc. and get over ourselves. Its oh, so first world. I’m not suggesting there isn’t room for improvement and we should strive for it, but we do need to understand how lucky we are in this province, country.

    Yes, its a drag to have to travel for medical appointments and treatments, but we do get the medical attention we need and its free. In some country’s the medical system doesn’t even provide the care we get as routine. In places like the U.S.A. people can’t get the care because they can’t afford it. Have a look at Syria and what is left of their health care system. Getting in the car and driving to Victoria or the ferry to Vancouver, seems oh so easy compared to that.

    Just back to the number of people who comment and the same, same; I read a number of B.C., Canadian, American, etc and most blogs have their usual readers and commenters. Unless you go to places like Crooks and Liars do you get a hundred or more different commenters. Most blogs have their faithful readers and commenters and yes, some have the same type of opinions each time, the left, the right, the middle. One blog I read, almost never any one comments on, yet it has as large a readership as some newspapers.

  41. 13 says:

    Gene, thanks for the attention. Martinis are not part of my diet. Martinis and other alcoholic beverages were the reason I met Dr Mconky at St Pauls. At age 36 I quit drinking and smoking. Had I not quit I would either be dead or lonely and bitter .

  42. Jay says:


    Part of the problem is the culture. Fire departments are almost paramilitary in nature. They have a rigid command structure. The firefighter is to refer to their LT or captain or chief. They generally need to look for permission to do things.
    Paramedics on the other hand are very independant. We work in pairs normally. We are trained to make critical decisions independantly although we tend to work much better as a team. The attendant is generally in charge but both medics are making decisions for the patient.
    Paramedics don’t generally need permission to take action. We have standing orders and treatment guidelines that we follow but our decisions are ours and not someone with rank on their shoulders.
    In a critical call even an EMR is taught to question treatment or to speak up when something is going sideways.
    The thing that probably causes alot of friction between fire and EMS is that we are above their chain of command on medical calls. We call the shots and some are not used to or happy with that. But our focus is the patient, not our ego so clashes occur and egos get bruised. Oh well.

    But going back to the topic at hand.
    The unfortunate reality is that many communities in the province do not have readily accessible health care that is at the top levels. We have several cardiac, neuro and pediatric centers but they are all concentrated in the major centers. This makes sense from a financial and resource standpoint but to people living hours away from a cath lab when they are having an active heart attack they tend to get alot less treatment in the golden time frames.
    The reality is that it is very difficult to put things where it benefits the most people. Politics, funding, space etc conflict. In the end we have to work with what we have.

  43. hawgwash says:

    Interesting comments, indeed and I imagine you will be hearing from some of your (XY)FD cousins. I refrained from using the military parallel for fear of heading in another direction but you are right and I get it.

    In fairness, I can only relate to one large department but can’t help but think most are entrenched in the same culture. Every “ism” is still very much alive and the interesting thing, socially, one on one it isn’t there but as the group grows beyond two the culture and personas change exponentially. Alone, they know it and will talk about it but when the gangs all there, well, you know.

    My FD friends are more closely aligned with LEOs than with you folks in EMS and even then the FFs are superior to LEO.

    Anyway Jay, it’s nice reading your EMS comments and your informed opinion on this particular topic. It’s good that you reminded us up the page of just how much available support we have in “Metro” and how much, care and safety windows, have advanced. As I read your stuff, I can’t help thinking about folks in places like Tahsis and that, is keeping it real.

    I trust you are now getting you paycheques on time and thank you for what you do.

  44. hawgwash says:

    Am I the only one frequently getting “Internal Server Error” early in the morning and very slow loading most other times?

    Or is HO trying to tell me something?

    (Response: LOL! I’m flattered twice: first, that you think I have the technical expertise to even create an “Internal Server error” on a computer; second, that you think I worry enough about anyone’s particular comment to get up “early in the morning” to monitor them and intercede to make sure someone gets an “Internal Service Error” if I disagree! LOL! h.o)

  45. hawgwash says:

    The first part was for real, the second for laffs. So, again I ask, is it my end or does your server take naps at night?

    (Response: LOL…still laughing. Have no idea if they shut it down for mtce… it’s somewhere in US I believe. What I do with any site … news, weather, travel etc … I go to and get that message is just try later: always works. h.o)

  46. nonconfidencevote says:

    Perhaps we could get SNC-Liberalin to design/ build a tunnel from the West End to the new St Paul’s location?
    They seem to be pretty good at digging holes…..

  47. BMCQ says:

    Over the past few weeks I have experienced the IS Error a handful of times, I do post quite early sometimes but I honestly cannot say what time of day it took place.

    I just thought that Bean and Aghast we’re trying to tell me something.

  48. hawgwash says:

    Good one noncon but I have a feeling an SNC tunnel would end up at Number 5 Orange.

  49. Richard Skelly says:

    Well argued, Harvey.

    Perhaps I’ve missed similar sentiments to yours expressed in Vancouver print and/or broadcast media. But most news features on a new St. Paul’s have been laudatory and not, in any way, critical.

    Years ago, when I first heard of the proposed plans, it struck me that downtown Vancouverites would be at risk of distance delays. And, if God forbid, an earthquake hit, isolation if road links to the further location were severed.

    Vancouver and Canada could also suffer scorn if a world leader took sick or was attacked while in the downtown. And then expired due to an inordinate travel time to the hospital.

    (Response: Thanks. I think one of the most significant happenings in this debate is the stance of the local West End MLA Spencer Herbert. Apparently he was concerned/opposed to the move when the Liberals were in power and were considering it, as pointed out by one blog reader. And HE had many reasons/explanations for his stance at the time and the potential negative impact on so many of his constituents. Read about that here: Where is he now? Where is the media in going after him on this? It’s a good story; it’s an important issue … and should be pursued. h.o)

  50. BMCQ says:

    NonCon – 46


    And yes the Tunnel could end at No. 5 but SNC Lavalin would send the Bar Bill to uh, PM Justin!

    Herbert is not unlike far too many Politicians he is and was always aHipocrite on many different issues. As they say, “How do you tel when Herbert is Lying”? ‘Every time his Mouth Moves.”

    Herbert has always been a Dishonest and Hipocritical Politician, I am not surprised. The sad thing is the fact he is always so obvious and he is always let off the hook for his hipocracy by Media.

    It is shameful that Media so often drop the ball, ignore for political reasons, or just do not remember that politicians so often flip flop on issues. Then again the Memory of many in Media might run along their own Political Ideology.

    That is shameful whateverthat Brand might be.

    I honestly find it incredible how so many in Media have turned on PM Justin regarding JWR and SNC Lav, why have they all of a sudden turned on him.

    I read the AG Ambulance Rural and Remote with great interest, it is very important and I will forward on to many.

    This Blog Topic has shown me and i hope others that more Rural Areas are perhaps not getting the service warranted and deserved, perhaps some of you might now think about why we need more control of Government Spending, Bloat, and Waste. By finding Efficiencies in Government we could do so much more.

    The NDP or Liberals need to begin th address this Rural/Remote Hospital/Ambulance/ER Care Problem in their next Campaign Platform, it is the right thing to do.

    I have learned a lot on this Blog Topic and I am really that Harvey let it meander a little bit, I believe we all have benefitted.

    Now let’s hold the feet of Herbert and others to the fire and lobby for at least a Satellite ER, Triage, Treatment Facility of at least to Beds somewhere close to the current SPH while at the same time demanding the Viaducts remain in place, it only makes sense.

    On Wed I will be meeting someone only 50 feet from the front door of the Herbert Denman St. Constituency Office and I will be dropping in to offer my opinion on this.

    I am sure I will be welcomed with open arms.

    The SPH Main St makes sense but the Downtown WE needs to be serviced properly as well. Another 100 thousand people in the next few years justifies thst for sure.

    (Response: The Liberals should take up this cause … and do their job as OFFICIAL OPPOSITION. Or are they too afraid to upset developers eyeing the Burrard Street site? If I were still working, I’d be all over this story …going after the NDP, Herbert, the Liberals, patient advocacy groups, elder groups, veterans living in West End …you know, the kind of reporting that had 600,000 watching BCTV every night!! No wonder the ratings of all local stations are so dreadful these days in comparison …and it has NOTHING to do with fractured viewing habits, just lousy story/journalism management. h.o)

  51. hawgwash says:

    DBW at 50;
    Yes, a timely article indeed and this is where the debate should take us; the urban rural inequities.

    I have no issue with examining the new SPH site from a seismic, engineering, bed count or technology standpoint, but to argue against it because it is too far from my uncle’s Thurlow St. apartment is, as someone said earlier, fear mongering.

    “…if a world leader took sick or was attacked while in the downtown. And then expired due to an inordinate travel time to the hospital.”

    That is exactly my point. Should Putin puke, every traffic light in the city would be activated red and the escort would be something greater than anything Hollywood could script.

    And where might this magical spot within the city be? Where could a dignitary be, besides the Wall Centre that time and distance would be a factor? Keeping it real, any dignitary suffering a life threatening situation would most likely be in a Yaletown body rub joint exactly half way between the old and new Saint Paul’s.

    See, I can keep it unreal as well.

  52. SB says:

    Response to Jay
    I believe you will find the friction between Fire and Paramedic crews is not that bad and yes fire service is a more structured chain of command , I spent 15 yrs in an incident command position and experience with BC ambulance was a very good working relationship my crews were not nearly as highly trained in medical skills and in fact were happy to pass on responsibility and assist as needed .
    Bear in mind outside major cities you are dealing with paid on call or volunteer crews with no real ego or other issues .
    Those in Vancouver and lower mainland are lucky as most outside that could be hours away from that level of care in best case scenario.

  53. e.a.f. says:

    hagawash, 52, that was wicked and very funny. half way between the new and old hospital, just the visuals on that one is more than I can stand.

    Herbert knows he can’t buck the party line and his first order is to stay in office. That’s politics. when it comes to towing the party line both parties do it, with the same fever. Its how they hold on to their job. Once upon a time Coleman spoke out against more gambling of one form, then the B.C. Liebercons got back into office and we all know how that turned out.

    Politicians may mean it when they say it, but not the 30 seconds before or after they say it. that’s just politics and life.

    The Auditor G. report is good and highlights a number of issues in rural areas. Will things change, not much because if you have a billion dollars to spend and a million voters in one area and 60K in another, I know where the money will be spent. Just enough to keep the 60K on side and the rest to ensure your return to office.

    Harvey, speaking of reporting, BCTV, and 600K every night, well Global, had an interesting item up on Saturday night late news. They decided to “celebrate” the 20th anniversary of the raid on Glen Clark’s house. Yes, there it was with the 20 year old film, the whole story. Towards the end they announced he was acquitted at a criminal trial after 3 years and now is the CEO……… Ah, and they had the old mud racker John Daily on himself, talking about the “event” and blaming Glen Clark for all the bad press because he didn’t come out to talk to them at the time.

    Wonder when we’ll have the 20th anniversary edition of Robert Summers going to jail, Gordon Campbell’s drunk driving conviction, the scandal at the Leg. right now, the involvement of Coleman in the sale of Timber West or his changes to the Forestry Act to benefit the company his brother worked for? Ya, about the same time hell freezes over. You have to wonder why Global hates Glen Clark so much they’d run that item 20 years later and nothing else about anyone else. You have to wonder about the agenda or is this the best Global can do to counter the current scandal at the Leg. or is this their version of both sides do it? Global made me puke. You’d think they could use the time to run something about the lack of services for autistic kids.

  54. r says:

    A pyrrhic victory at best?
    Caveat emptor?

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