VICTORIA -- The only hospital on Salt Spring Island is expanding its emergency department, doubling the number of acute and primary care patients that can be treated at one time.

Island Health announced the $10.4-million expansion at Lady Minto Hospital on Wednesday.

The cost of the project will be shared between the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, which has pledged $7.4 million, and the Capital Regional Hospital District, which will contribute $3 million.

The expansion involves the construction of a new 4,500-square-foot emergency department that will double the number of acute and primary care patients that can be treated simultaneously, according to Island Health.

The expansion also includes a new mental health and substance use treatment room, a medication area, a dedicated triage desk, an ambulance bay and an expanded waiting area.

“We know that upgrades are needed to allow Lady Minto Hospital and its dedicated staff to continue to provide high quality care for Salt Spring Island residents,” said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix in a statement.

“This project will greatly enhance patient-centred care for this region, providing patient privacy and the opportunity to provide more specialized treatment including for mental health and substance use,” Dix added.

The health authority says the project may incorporate Indigenous artwork, furniture, fixtures and equipment to ensure spaces are welcoming to everyone who seeks medical care.

“The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation is delighted that this much needed expansion to the hospital is going ahead,” said Lady Minto Hospital Foundation chair Dave Taylor in the statement.

The hospital foundation expects the expansion will be complete in early 2023.