03/20/2013 01:31 EDT | Updated 05/20/2013 05:12 EDT

Premier won't commit cash but will mull plans for Penticton hospital upgrade

PENTICTON, B.C. - Premier Christy Clark isn't committing any cash to upgrade the aging and outdated Penticton Regional Hospital, but she says a Liberal government is ready to talk about possible renovations.

A news release issued Wednesday says Clark's willingness to consider plans for a new patient care tower shows the Liberal government is listening to south Okanagan residents.

Hundreds of people have packed recent meetings, demanding immediate improvements to the regional hospital, saying they are outraged that facilities in Kamloops, Kelowna and Vernon have been upgraded but Penticton's 62-year-old hospital has been ignored.

The release from Clark's office says she's committed to pushing along plans for construction of a new patient care tower at Penticton Regional, although development of a business case won't be complete until sometime next year.

It would then require approval, which would have to be granted before any pre-construction work could be contemplated.

Clark was visiting south and central Okanagan communities Wednesday for a day of meetings and announcements.