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Sparwood mayor takes helm of regional hospital district

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks has stepped into the role of Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD) chair after winning the vote in February’s meeting.

In the same meeting, Elkford Mayor and now former KERHD chair Dean McKerracher announced that he would be retiring from politics and therefore will not re-run for the position.

This will be Wilks’ first term as chair, after serving as Acting Chair for the last three years.

Wilks was up against Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza for the role. Board members vote on a chair and acting chair once per year.

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“Over the next year, I look forward to moving projects ahead,” said Wilks. “We’ll meet with IHA (Interior Health Authority) on a number of occasions over the year to hopefully push for projects we want to see in our region and get them on board.”

Wilks said he has a particular project he wants to see get off the ground.

“One of the things that’s most important to me, and near and dear to my heart is a new oncology and renal department, which will include radiation,” said Wilks. “We upped our amount of money that we put into planning for that process with IHA on Feb. 18th from $100,000 to $200,000. I hope that IHA that we are a willing partner to move this venture forward.”

Regional District of Central Kootenay Area A Director Garry Jackman was elected by acclamation as Acting Chair for the coming year.

“Though I have been at the KERHD table for many years, this will be my first term as Acting Chair and I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity and year ahead,” said Jackman.

The KERHD covers Golden to Creston and the Elk Valley, and funds up to 40% of the capital funding for acute care facilities, equipment and facility construction and renovations.

The board is made up of representatives from each municipality in its coverage region.

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