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Second ultrasound rally on tap

Organizers are strongly encouraging Castlegar residents to show up for a second rally aimed at persuading Interior Health to leave the Castlegar Health Centre's only ultrasound machine in Castlegar, instead of moving it to Trail.

The original plan was to move the machine to Trail to complement the existing two machines at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, but that plan crumpled under the weight of vehement community opposition after the issue drew as many as 300 protesters to the Castlegar Health Centre.

The move was not cancelled, however - only delayed until February 2011.

Dean MacKinnon, an organizer with the citizen group lobbying for better health care access for Castlegar, said people need to show up to the rally to keep the pressure on IH to leave the machine in Castlegar permanently.

"It's a serious situation," MacKinnon said. "It's about common sense and common cents ...I would never run my house the way they run IH - it's too costly."

He said the IH board of directors will be at the Complex Nov. 17 for a public meeting in which directors are scheduled to hear from the citizen group, so a strong showing of local protesters will send a message to exactly the people it needs to reach.

"People need to show up - it's the only way it works," he said. "We've been bullied by this government, and people are tired of it."

He said it's not enough to count on tiny grassroots groups like the one he's working with - people instead need to take responsibility and do their own small part, which will lend the effort the critical mass needed to force IH to consider other options.

The rally will begin at 5 p.m. at the Complex Nov. 17.