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MLAs slam use of Lower Mainland hospital for filming instead of health care

‘Our health system is not in great shape. It’s never been worse’: Trevor Halford
Using a portion of Peace Arch Hospital for filming is ‘completely unacceptable’ when health care should be the priority, says Surrey White Rock MLA Trevor Halford. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C.’s Health minister Adrian Dix is defending the recent use of Peace Arch Hospital for a film shoot.

After Paramount crews and equipment were spotted filming a production on Dec. 15 at the hospital, local MLAs slammed the fact the White Rock hospital was being used to film a show instead of being used for health care.

At a Dec. 20 press conference in Richmond, Dix re-iterated what Fraser Health said in a previous emailed statement, emphasizing the area of the hospital used for filming was an “unused area of the hospital.”

“I think it was a single room within the hospital that was used and essentially, that’s just accommodating a request from an industry that employs a lot of people and does a good job in employing people in our province. If it was needed for care, it would never be provided. It will never be provided. That’s not what happens in the health-care system.”

Dix said he would ask the health authority to look into how often the province’s health facilities are used for filming.

“Of course, I’ve asked them to take a look at it because people have raised the issue with me to take a look at how often it happens. I think it happens relatively rarely and only in space that is surplus to patient care. Frequently, other public facilities get used.”

After the Dec. 14-15 film shoot, Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford said health care, not show business, should be the priority.

“It’s frustrating. The only crews that should be going into PAH are construction crews to upgrade some of the things that are needed… the ICU (intensive care unit) is inadequate for the needs of White Rock right now.”

Halford noted the hospital has “amazing staff and frontline workers,” and said he’s proud of the province’s film sector, which he said has done a lot of great work in White Rock.

“But to utilize a hospital at this time when we’re in the crisis we’re in… we’re sending out patients at Surrey Memorial to motels, we’ve got portables now for pediatrics at Surrey Memorial… our health system is not in great shape. It’s never been worse,” he said.

READ ALSO: Fraser Health reverses decision to close Peace Arch Hospital maternity

“The fact is we’ve got movie crews blocking off substantial areas of the hospital at a time where we’ve got waits of over 12 hours for the emergency ward. It’s completely unacceptable.”

His colleague, Surrey South MLA Elenore Sturko, who is also the shadow minister for mental health, addiction, recovery and education, echoed his frustration on X.

“Hospitals are meant for health care,” she said in a video post.

Sturko also tweeted that “It’s sickening to know people at Surrey Memorial Hospital are being treated in hallways and motels while a floor of nearby Peace Arch Hospital is being used to make movies.”

In an emailed statement, Fraser Health said the decision to allow filming was made “with careful consideration for patient care, operational needs and the overall benefit to our health care services.”

The health authority said no hospital services were impacted and full hospital operations maintained throughout the filming, which it said took place in a “very small closed, non-active unit currently being prepared for upcoming renovations.”

The statement noted that filming in unused spaces at Fraser Health sites “generates revenue to directly support patient care and improve infrastructure.”

“Occasionally these out-of-service areas are used for filming as long as no patients are disturbed and hospital services are not impacted,” it said.

Halford said he has nothing against movies or TV series being filmed on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

But when “We’ve got diversions from the maternity, we’ve got long waits in the emergency rooms, we’ve got a mental health facility at Peace Arch Hospital that they can’t staff right now… Fraser Health needs to get its priorities straight.”

Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’m a lifelong writer, and worked as a journalist in community newspapers for more than a decade, from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey, from 2001-2012
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