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Powell River Regional Hospital District board to receive possible renaming recommendations

Staff report includes community engagement and consultation
PUBLIC NOTICE: Powell River Regional Hospital District’s board will consider a recommendation from the committee of the whole to begin a process to look into changing the name of the hospital district.

Powell River Regional Hospital District will consider public feedback and stakeholder consultation regarding a possible name change.

At the March 10 regional hospital district meeting, City of Powell River representative and committee chair CaroleAnn Leishman thanked staff for putting together a report in a timely manner.

“It has got some good options in the report,” said Leishman.

qathet Regional District Electoral Area A director Patrick Brabazon said he wanted to recommend a specific option as outlined in the staff report. The option read: solicit public feedback through legislated public notice and additional advertising. Conduct stakeholder consultation through correspondence. As administration is fully tasked in 2022, funding will be needed to support additional staff. The cost of this initiative is approximately $15,000 for staff time, comprehensive advertisements and stakeholder consultation.

Electoral Area B director Mark Gisborne said he had been giving the matter a lot of thought, especially in light of the city’s possible name change initiative.

“I believe that changing a name is intended to be a reflection of the changes of the identity found with either an individual, or an organization, in our case,” said Gisborne. “I believe there is still a great deal of work to do in the realm of reconciliation. The change of a name should reflect, I believe, the change in the community. I would like to see distancing ourselves from the legacy of Israel Powell, but I want to make sure the change is occurring in the community as well.”

Gisborne said he was comfortable moving ahead with public engagement, but he would also like to see a referendum in the future pertaining to this item. He said he thinks the process of a potential name change could be beneficial to the community to have the conversation and the understanding of all sides to bridge the gap of the harm that has been caused throughout history.

Public engagement the first step, says director

City director George Doubt said the option being proposed talks about public engagement and that’s the first step.

“I think public engagement will happen,” said Doubt. “There’s a proposal in the motion about how that public engagement should go on with advertising in local papers to get comments from the public. After that, I assume the board will review the results of that engagement and make decisions after that about how to go forward.

“The proposed option is a viable way to go. It’s different than some other processes that are happening within the regional district area but it’s a good way for the regional district to go.”

Electoral Area E director Andrew Fall said he concurred with Doubt’s comments and added that there is value in, at least as a starting point, proposing a name that’s the same as the regional district’s.

“Having a proliferation of names can be confusing to the public,” said Fall. “Even though we are separate entities, the fact that we are the same people, and when people vote for members of the regional district, or appointments from the city, they are people who are also on the hospital district board. There is not a separate ballot or democratic process. I agree with director Doubt that we will have stakeholder engagement from the public and then we can take it from there and see whether we proceed down this path. I think that’s a good first step.”

Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick said she believed the public consultation built into the recommended option was sufficient.

“It will give us a good picture of what people are thinking,” said McCormick. “We don’t need to do a referendum and so I’m really happy to support the option.”

Leishman said she is happy to see this going sooner than later.

“Having heard a very positive response from Tla’amin Nation about the name, qathet, which does align with the region, including Tla’amin, for the hospital district,” added Leishman, “this is a good way to get things going.”

The committee voted to send the recommended option to the regional board for approval.

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