Oak Bay Lodge lands changing hands

  • Mar. 10, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Regional Hospital District buys Oak Bay Lodge property

Oak Bay Lodge land is being sold to the Capital Regional District’s hospital arm, which is borrowing $40 million to do so.

Vancouver Island Health Authority will sell the property on which the long-term care facility sits to the Capital Region Hospital District. The deal has yet to be approved by the provincial government. The price has not been revealed, but according to the most recent provincial assessment the property is valued at $1,036,000.

VIHA spokesperson Shannon Marshall described the land “transfer,” which VIHA hopes will be approved by the end of March, as “a unique arrangement” for local governments.

Although the regional hospital district has funded other health projects, such as contributing $107.75 million toward the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s new $350-million patient care centre, this is the first time it’s been involved in purchasing property in the region. The CRHD will borrow the funds through the Municipal Financing Authority of B.C. The funds will also go toward developing the proposed Mount View care bed facility in Saanich.

Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton said the deal will allow seniors’ residential care to remain in public hands.

“This is the best way to secure it,” he said.

Just what will happen to the 247 residents who currently live at Oak Bay Lodge is up in the air. The health authority is in negotiations with the Baptist Housing Society to run the 500- to 600-bed Mount View facility on Carey Road and residents from Oak Bay Lodge may be able to transfer there once it is built, Marshall said.

A date for its opening is not yet known. It’s also not determined what will happen to the 37 Oak Bay Lodge residents who live in independent accommodation in the building.

In order to deal with a $45-million budget shortfall, VIHA announced 18 months ago its intention to close Oak Bay Lodge and the 73-bed Mount Tolmie Hospital in Saanich and replace them with a public-private run facility. The health authority has plans to sell off other properties in Cumberland and Tahsis, as well as a strip of land adjacent to Victoria General Hospital.

VIHA will continue to regulate the operations of Mount View once it opens. The facility will provide care for independent living residents, those with complex health issues and housing for unstably housed seniors.

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com