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Project Update, KBRH Second Access Road on Hold

The City of Trail (the City), with input from Interior Health (IH), recently concluded a comprehensive engineering evaluation pertaining to the construction of a second access road to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH). Trail Council provided funding within the City’s 2019 Capital Plan to complete this evaluation as Council had identified the review and potential development of a second access road as a strategic priority. After assessing the associated costs, options, and impacts provided in the engineering review, it was agreed there wasn’t a preferred option that the City and IH could directly support at this time. The engineering evaluation process, details of the project options, and the rationale to put the project on hold are described below.

The City retained TRUE Engineering, an engineering and planning consulting firm, to oversee design, budget development, and the planning process for a number of potential KBRH second access road options. IH staff were given the opportunity to provide comments in response to the options that were developed. Four full-access options, ranging in construction costs between $6.3 million and $9 million, were then advanced for further discussion (see the first four options in the KBRH Second Access Options Summary document on pages 1 through 2). Costs varied depending on where the road would start and enter the KBRH property. Due to the significant costs to construct the road to municipal standards, an additional option was developed that included constructing a one-lane emergency access road to the property (see the last option in the KBRH Second Access Options Summary document on page 3). At an estimated cost of $2.35 million, this one-lane road would be more economical to construct; however, the results of the KBRH Road Access Natural Hazard Review, conducted by SNT Geotechnical Ltd., mitigates the immediate need for a multi-million dollar expenditure.

The estimated construction costs, as well as integration onto IH property, were all critical issues considered in the assessment. Also, the elevation gain over a rather short distance was a complicating factor; and, the location of the BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) station and Harbour House at the north end of the property also impacted options and cost estimates.

Although the City has put the second access road to KBRH on hold, the project has not been abandoned. The City intends to continue the engaging and meaningful dialogue with IH and the province regarding how best to advance the project, should conditions change or if third-party funding can be secured. The development of the road could be triggered by the eventual relocation of the current BCAS station as the City previously advanced a proposal to the province to relocate the station to City-owned property on Rossland Avenue. The City will continue to pursue this issue directly.  

IH’s input was invaluable to the process and the City did not want to advance a preferred design to the public for review and comment that did not meet the needs of all stakeholders involved. Further, when considering the City’s current capital priorities and the cost of the road, Council felt it would be difficult to garner the public’s support if long-term borrowing was the preferred funding source (the assent of the electorate is a legal requirement). The City also intends to discuss the matter further with the Regional Hospital Board to gauge whether or not the Board would support the provision of all or part of the costs required to proceed, recognizing that KBRH provides service to the larger West Kootenay region.

In conclusion, the City’s support for KBRH is unwavering. While the second access road will not proceed immediately, the City will remain engaged with the hopes of supporting further enhancements that directly support the regional health care facility.