Keeping laundry services for the East Kootenay Regional hospital came up again at the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District meeting last week, as Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt pushed for engaging with Interior Health on the issue.
The main sticking point is that IH is planning to move services to the Lower Mainland to cut costs, as services are currently based in Nelson that is using older equipment and requires upgrading.
Specifically, Pratt feels that local and regional businesses missed out on the opportunity to bid for the contract in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process because of a $15 million line of credit requirement.
“My concern is because of the process of the RFP, they basically close the door on a lot of smaller operators and I know that Nelson is doing that laundry now and perhaps that equipment isn’t at the end of it’s life and can be moved somewhere else in the East Kootenay here to service that,” said Pratt.
“…I just don’t think that they should be closing the door on some of the smaller companies that could gear up and do that laundry, but by the way the RFP was done, it’s basically only two people that could put up the line of credit.”
Pratt noted that he understands why there is a $15 million line of credit requirement as Interior Health wants to make sure any companies who bid on the RFP are capable of carrying out the services.
However, in an area such as Cranbrook and the surrounding area, the amount of laundry that is going to be generated shouldn’t necessitate such a high line of credit requirement, Pratt added.
“I do know that from discussions I’ve had with people in Cranbrook, there are investors willing to step up and invest in equipment to provide that service on a contract if it’s feasible for Interior Health,” he said.
“…Of course, I’m advocating for Cranbrook, but I still believe it doesn’t make sense to be hauling dirty laundry to Vancouver and hauling clean laundry back because of the distance and the time. You’d have to have more on hand because what happens if the roads close or you go through a few mountain passes and the road is closed?”