MEDICINE MATTERS: What Vancouver billionaire Jim Pattison has in common with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
Answer: Both of the billionaires have given $75 million to hospitals, Zuckerberg to San Francisco General and Pattison to a new St. Paulâ€™s Hospital here in Vancouver.
And just like the hospital in San Francisco that (somewhat controversially) bears the Zuckerberg name, the redeveloped St. Paulâ€™s Hospital site will feature the Pattison name.
That is, whenever it is finally built on the vacant False Creek Flats parcel designated for the new hospital. The â€œbrandâ€� â€“ St. Paulâ€™s â€“ will stay the same but Pattisonâ€™s transformational pledge guaranteed naming rights for the campus at large that will be called the Jim Pattison Medical Centre.
Based on intel from my sources, itâ€™s looking like we can expect an announcement from the B.C. government sometime in the fall regarding approval of the final business plan that was submitted in June.
Health minister Adrian Dix said this when I recently asked about where things stand:
â€œProvidence (the umbrella organization that manages St. Paulâ€™s) submitted the final business plan for the new St. Paulâ€™s to the ministry in June and it is currently being reviewed. As soon as that process is complete, it will be moved forward to cabinet for consideration.
I look forward to taking action on this project.â€�
Appearing before the estimates committee on May 15, Dix said one could write a book about the inertia of politicians who have been stalling the redevelopment plan for nearly 20 years. Of course, he was referring to the Liberals, not the current NDP government.
Hereâ€™s the transcript of Dixâ€™s remarks:
â€œI feel that the member for Kelownaâ€“Lake Country is asking for this response â€” a lengthy, historical overview of this project â€” because I think he was suggesting yesterday that the answers were not fulsome and detailed enough.
As the member will know, the St. Paulâ€™s project was first announced by the previous government in 2002. It was then announced in a business plan in 2006 that the project would go to the False Creek Flats. It was then announced in 2009 and again in 2011 that it would stay on the current site. It was then announced in 2015 that it would go to the False Creek Flats. It was then announced in 2016 that they were moving towards a business plan phase.
When I arrived as Minister of Health, weâ€™d gone, in 11 years, from a business plan to a pre-business plan phase â€” in July of 2017. Now we have received from Providence Health Care a business plan for the new St. Paulâ€™s Hospital. So itâ€™s a long venture. I feel like, at the end of a book, my part in it has merely been an afterword. Hopefully, weâ€™re going to write a new book, which is the building of the new St. Paulâ€™s.â€�
The new CEO of Providence, Fiona Dalton, has been on the job for a few months and sources say she and Dix have had some productive meetings about the redevelopment. They saw each other again yesterday at an unrelated event.
In the meantime, Pattisonâ€™s $75 million gift remains a pledge only since the hospital foundation doesnâ€™t get the money until shovels are in the ground, so to speak.
And since new hospitals are costing at least $1.4 billion these days, the foundation has a long way to go in garnering other huge donations. To that end, Dick Vollet, CEO of the foundation, has spearheaded production of a suitably polished and compelling video to re-engage would-be donors.
Thereâ€™s likely another reason the hospital foundation has just kicked into another gear with its @helpstpauls web-based campaign and thatâ€™s a not-so-subtle reminder to Treasury Board and Cabinet â€“ the government bodies that now hold the fate of this redevelopment in their hands â€“ that the existing 125-year old hospital on Burrard Street is crumbling beyond repair and itâ€™s time to get on with this project.