West Coast General Hospital emergency department expansion begins

Press Release

Oct. 15, 2021

PORT ALBERNI – Construction is underway to expand the emergency department at West Coast General Hospital to support improvements to patient care and privacy for people in the region.

“West Coast General Hospital is an important part of the community for residents in the area, including Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet, Bamfield, Hupa¢asath and Tseshaht First Nations, Uchucklesaht Tribe, Huu-ay-aht and Ditidaht First Nations, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government, Toquaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht and Hesquiaht First Nations,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The work underway will help relieve the congestion of this very busy hospital that sees more than 25,000 patient visits to the emergency department each year.”

The redevelopment will include a 244-square-metre (2,626-square-foot) expansion. Improvements will feature three new patient exam beds, extra space for patients awaiting tests and results, improvements to the triage and admitting area, and a dedicated entrance for ambulances.

A private, safe seclusion room for patients in need of emergency mental health care will also be included. Currently, patients who are agitated or violent and need emergency mental health care are located in an assessment room near the waiting area. A seclusion room will provide added security and privacy.

“It’s exciting to see this project underway to upgrade the emergency department,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “The work being done will improve patient privacy and make it easier for small family groups and support people to accompany their loved ones during what are often stressful times for people.”

The cost is shared between the provincial government, which is providing $2.55 million, West Coast General Hospital Foundation, which has pledged $2 million, and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Hospital District, which will contribute $1.7 million.

Kinetic Construction will lead the project construction for the emergency department expansion, which is expected to be ready for patients in December 2022.

The West Coast General Hospital opened in 2001 and has 52 beds.


Shelia Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions –

“For people who need mental-health care in Port Alberni, Tofino and the surrounding communities, the expansion of the West Coast General Hospital emergency department will be a game changer, as we are doing this work with them front of mind. Together, we’re building a system where treatment for mental health is on par with any other health condition. I’m grateful to everyone involved in making this development a reality.”

Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health –

“Reconciliation begins with understanding the experiences of Indigenous Peoples accessing health and care services. By listening with an open heart, we gain understanding for what steps we need to take for true reconciliation. The new emergency department will incorporate our shared learnings to create a space where every patient is treated with honour, respect and dignity.”

Dr. Robert O’Dwyer, board president and Ellen Brown Everard, vice-president, West Coast General Hospital Foundation –

“The West Coast General Hospital Foundation is proud to be part of this improvement to the hospital, and we are so grateful for every contribution we have received. The emergency department at West Coast General Hospital has conscientious, competent and caring service providers, who have been working in an overcrowded space for many years. It is so exciting to have this eagerly anticipated upgrade to our community hospital come to fruition. Once again, the citizens of this ‘town with a heart’ have come through and helped make Port Alberni a better place to live. Our thanks to everyone involved.”

Chris Francey, business director, West Coast General Hospital Foundation –

“Expanding and improving the emergency department at West Coast General Hospital is going to make a big difference for our community. The West Coast General Hospital Foundation has pledged $2 million because we believe it is the right thing to do for all of the families who will need the services of this hospital in the future.”

John McNabb, chair, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Hospital District –

“The emergency department is a busy place, and the Regional Hospital District is very pleased to support this renovation. We know it will greatly benefit patients in the years to come.”

Learn More:

For video, visit: https://vimeo.com/631200542

For photos: https://flic.kr/p/2mAud3i


Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)

Dominic Abassi
Island Health
250 755-7966

Christian Francey
West Coast General Hospital Foundation
250 731-1370, ext. 48148

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect


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