Petition on future of seniors' care at Oak Bay Lodge, Mount Tolmie Hospital
to be tabled in legislature today

VANCOUVER, May 5 /CNW/ - The future of seniors' care at Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital is the subject of a petition that will be tabled in the legislature today.

The petition, signed by over 1,600 people calls on Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong to "advocate strenuously and publicly" to stop the sale and privatization of Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital. The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) announced in October that they were going to close the two facilities and fund the opening of a new, privatized building.

Two municipal Councils - Oak Bay and Saanich - have passed resolutions opposing this plan. Community members, residents, and their families have written letters, attended forums, and contacted their elected representatives to say stop the sell-off of these public lands.

"VIHA's decision came out of the blue and we are very concerned for the continuity of care for seniors in these facilities," said Darryl Walker, BCGEU president. The BCGEU represents workers at the Oak Bay Lodge. The Hospital Employees' Union represents workers at Mount Tolmie Hospital.

"We fully support this petition and urge the government to ask VIHA to reconsider their plans," said Walker.

MLA Rob Fleming (Victoria) will table the petition today around 2:30 pm.

The full text of the petition is as follows:

    We, the undersigned citizens of Greater Victoria, call on Ida Chong, MLA
    of Oak Bay-Gordon Head and all MLA's to advocate strenuously and publicly
    exercise their power, influence and constitutional responsibility to
    public health care to put a stop to the sell-off and privatization of
    publicly-provided, -funded and -owned seniors' care in our community,
    recognizing that connection to community, friends and family are vital to
    seniors' health and wellbeing.

    We further call on the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) to cease
    and desist with plans to sell off Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital
    properties, recognizing that these lands are a sacred trust for future

    We further call on VIHA to cease and desist with plans to contract out
    seniors' public health care, recognizing that privatization and
    corporatization has consistently led to a loss of complex residential
    care; a loss of public accountability, control and transparency, and
    increased costs to the taxpayer. We call on the Board of VIHA to advocate
    strenuously & publicly for seniors' care.

SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

For further information: For further information: Brian Gardiner, BCGEU Communications, (604) 291-9611

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