The long-awaited Burnaby Hospital community consultation committee report is set to be released to the public as early as this Friday.
According to Burnaby-Lougheed MLA Harry Bloy, who chaired the committee, the 127-page report is going through its final edits and will be released very soon.
"It will be out as early as late this week," Bloy told the Burnaby NOW
Tuesday morning. "It's going to be released either Friday or Monday."
Bloy said people who are skeptical about the contents should reserve judgment until they read the entire report.
"I think people need to appreciate the hundreds of hours of work these volunteers did in putting this report together," he said. "The comments I've seen, I think they've been blown out of proportion. These are people with no axes to grind. They were there for a better hospital; they were there for a better community. I think the comments about their objectivity doesn't reflect the amount of volunteer work they've put into this."
Bloy was referring to the recent controversy regarding emails and a letter between members of the committee and Liberal Party insiders. The correspondence was given to The Vancouver Sun by the New Democratic Party of B.C.
The leaked letter, written last winter, indicates that the consultation process for Burnaby Hospital began based on political motivations to retain the Liberal Burnaby North and Lougheed ridings, and to win the Burnaby-Deer Lake riding currently held by NDP MLA Kathy Corrigan.
The emails from September and October also indicate there were political motivations involved, and suggest the committee report is going to conclude the issues with the hospital and lack of resources are the responsibility of the Fraser Health authority, not the Liberal government.
But Bloy stressed the focus should be on the report itself.
"I'm super pleased with the amount of work that has been put into this," he said.
The committee was formed last spring with Bloy as the chair, Burnaby North Liberal MLA Richard Lee as the vice-chair, and Pamela Gardner as the citizen chair.
The hospital has been contending with major health issues, particularly the ongoing C. Difficile infection outbreaks reported over the past year and a half.
The committee conducted public consultations regarding the future of Burnaby Hospital and will be submitting its report to Fraser Health.
Gardner was a co-author of the letter and wrote a number of the emails that were obtained by the NDP.
The NDP sent out a press release Tuesday, criticizing the length of time it has taken for the report to be released.
"The consultation committee originally promised that the report would be released to the Fraser Health Authority by the end of September and yet two months later, we haven't seen a thing," New Democrat health critic Mike Farnworth said in the release. "Premier Christy Clark and the minister of health need to answer for the status of the report and address what's causing the delay. We already know the committee was created purely for political reasons. The Liberal government wanted to appear to be taking action as they thought it could win them a seat in the next election. One has to wonder what they're up to by delaying the report further."
Fraser Health is currently working on a master plan for the possible expansion or replacement of the hospital.
Last month, Fraser Health released a statement saying it would consider the report from the committee as part of the planning process.
Roy Thorpe-Dorward, a spokesperson for Fraser Health, confirmed the health authority had not received the report as of Monday afternoon.
He directed all questions about the timeline for the report's release to the committee, adding it is not a Fraser Health committee.
The media relations manager for the B.C. Ministry of Health, Ryan Jabs, also referred questions about the timeline for the report to the committee, adding it is not a ministry report.
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