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3-year design phase for Red Deer hospital redevelopment has begun

“Project is a priority for us, but with a hospital, one needs to take special care.”
Infrastructure Minister Peter Guthrie says the design phase is moving forward for the expansion of Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. (File photo by Advocate staff)

It will take about three years to complete the design phase of Red Deer hospital’s expansion project which Infrastructure Minister Pete Guthrie says is right on schedule.

“Building a modern acute-care hospital takes about 10 years from the start of planning to the end of construction. The Red Deer hospital redevelopment is one of the largest health care projects that the province has ever undertaken with construction expected to be complete by 2030 or 2031 and we are committed to shortening the timelines where possible,” said Guthrie in an Op-Ed sent to the Advocate Wednesday.

“This may seem long, especially for residents of Red Deer and Central Alberta who have been advocating for this hospital expansion since 2008, but spending the necessary time getting it right will ensure a smooth and successful build, avoiding costly undue delays.”

Dr. Kym Jim, of the Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta (SHECA), agreed that project design takes time. But these timelines are difficult to hear knowing the province has failed to get anything done in Red Deer for so, so long.

“We’re trying to make up for 20 years of inaction on the part of government and Alberta Health Services. That’s the problem,” Jim said.

“How are we going to get through the next decade without something being done? Once again we call on government and Alberta Health Services to get the transition plan in order for Red Deer, get a task force in order for Red Deer, so we can figure out how the communities in Central Alberta are going to make it the next 10 years.”

He said the hospital is already doing fewer speciality procedures than five years ago and lengthy wait times in the emergency department are commonplace because the hospital can’t support the population.

By the time the expansion is built Red Deer will have gone 30 years without an increase in hospital beds so the expansion will fail to meet the expected needs and number of beds of Central Albertans will require, Jim said.


Guthrie said development delays were exacerbated in 2017 when the government of the day removed it from the priority capital projects list, effectively canceling the hospital’s development.

“This action meant that we had to start from the beginning when our government re-funded the project in Budget 2020.”

He said the project is a priority for his government and over 10,000 jobs are being created with the investment of $1.8-billion to ensure things are done right.

“I am unequivocally committed to completing the Red Deer hospital expansion without compromising quality. Red Deer and the surrounding communities will get the hospital to meet their needs today and well into the future,” Guthrie said.


SHECA member Harley Hay said a three-year wait for the design phase to be complete is ridiculous. How many more people are going to die waiting three more years for services like the cardiac catheterization lab?

He said the project should have been well underway but instead, there’s just been excuses.

“They keep talking about it saying it’s complicated, and we have to do it right, and it takes a long time to do it right,” Hay said.

“They’re playing with people’s lives.”

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