Old bricks pave way for City to boost PRH fund

Downtown revitalization has enabled the City of Penticton to donate almost $31,000 to PRH from the sale of old sidewalk paver bricks.

It’s a “new beginning” – not only for Penticton Regional Hospital, but also for thousands of recycled paver bricks removed from downtown sidewalks.

The City of Penticton’s auction sale of several pallets of old paver bricks lifted from the 2016 upgrade to the 100 and 200 blocks of Main Street – and the 2015 sale of old pavers from around the landmark “Peach” concession stand on Lakeshore Drive – has garnered almost $31,000 to help the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation provide medical equipment for the PRH expansion.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit lauded the benefits from both the Okanagan lakeshore and the Main Street projects.

“It’s really the heart of the city and we’ve had lots of positive comments on enhancing pedestrian experience – widening the sidewalks and making it more of a people place,” he said.

Jakubeit said to be able to reuse the old bricks to help people spruce up their patios and yards, while assisting PRH is another huge plus.  Not only does Penticton have a large elderly population, but the current hospital dates back to the early 1950s.

“I think the hospital expansion itself is the most significant project to happen in Penticton, both on a socio-medical side of things and economically,” he said. “Now our population is significantly larger, our region is larger, and the complexity of required health care services is that much greater as well.”

The mayor noted city council readily agreed in 2017 to allocate the paver brick revenue to the SOS Medical Foundation campaign.

“Certainly there is a significant amount of non-profits who have a need in the community, but the hospital is probably the most significant economic opportunity we have in front of us. To be able to support that was a high priority and easy decision for council to endorse.”

Jakubeit noted the community began rallying behind the PRH expansion campaign about five years ago and realizes the benefits that will result.

“People have accepted that, not only do we need a bigger hospital, but it can’t happen fast enough.”

The new tower should be ready for patients by late April 2019.  Work will then begin on Phase 2, including a major upgrade to the PRH Emergency Department.