Smithers Council Agrees to Bylaw Exemption for CT Scanner Project

John Crawford
12/12/2018

Smithers Council has changed its mind -- and has voted unanimously to exempt Northern Health from a bylaw which would have forced the health authority to spend $130,000 on the infrastructure near Bulkley Valley District Hospital.

Northern Health was planning renovations of about $350,000 to the hospital, in order to introduce a CT scanner to Smithers.

But those plans were paused two weeks ago, after council voted 4-3 against waiving the requirement of property owners doing renovations of over $100,000 to also upgrade adjacent infrastructure.

Faced with community backlash over that decision, Mayor Taylor Bachrach said council was forced to revisit the issue last night -- but he said it was a tough choice.

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Bachrach said residents made their feelings clear.

"Right now, people are driving to Terrace to get CT scans and we've heard loudly and clearly from the community that they want to see that CT scanner in there no matter what.

"I understand why the community is so passionate about getting a CT Scanner; a lot of families have had loved ones who've had health situations that have required a lot of travel out of town and it's really stressful so I would just hope that the community also understands why council has found it such a tough decision because we're also trying to build a community together."

The CT scanner project first came about through local fundraising -- including a 1.6-million dollar contribution from Telkwa resident Fritz Pfeiffer.

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