'It's totally unacceptable:' Atlin Supported Living Society campaigns for new health centre

A group in Atlin, B.C., is hoping the upcoming provincial election will deliver a new health centre to the community. 

Bob Wagner from the Atlin Supported Living Society says the current centre is too old and too small.

"To actually carry out treatments, you're more or less siting on top of each other — the nurse and the patient. It's totally unacceptable."

He says the centre was built more than 70 years ago and lacks a water back up. It is the only health facility in the northern BC community of 300, located just south of the Yukon border. 

Wagner says the volunteer-run society, which receives an operational grant to provide services including homecare, has been in discussions with Northern Health for two years about building a new centre. 

He says the society even has a donated property the new facility could go. In March, it sent a letter to the B.C. Ministers of Health and Housing asking for financial support for the project. 

'I hope they do something'

Shirley Connolly, 84, says the service at the hospital is excellent, despite the building being crowded and cold. She said when the doctor comes, he has to wear long johns and wool shirts to keep warm. 

"In the winter, they won't do an ECG [electrocardiogram] because it's too cold in there."

For seniors like herself who don't drive, Connolly says having a good health centre is important, because there aren't other options.

"I hope they do something, I really do."