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Red Deer keeping an close eye on hospital expansion progress

‘We have to keep that foot on the gas and keep it moving forward’
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The expansion project for Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has moved into the design phase. (File photo by Advocate staff)

As the expansion project for Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre enters its three-year design phase, the City of Red Deer is going to stay focused on its progress “like bees to honey,” says Deputy Mayor Lawrence Lee.

Lee said everybody needs to be held accountable, whether it’s Infrastructure Minister Pete Guthrie, or Health Minister Adriana LaGrange who is the Red Deer-North MLA, who have committed to do what they need to do to make the project happen if not on schedule, ahead of schedule.

“Let’s get those milestones in. Let’s make sure it’s transparent. Let’s make sure those timelines are being met. We cannot fall back on this. We have to keep that foot on the gas and keep it moving forward,” Lee said.

Related:

Editorial: Design is moving forward on Red Deer Regional Hospital project

On Wednesday Guthrie sent an Op-Ed to the Advocate announcing that the design phase was moving ahead for the $1.8-billion project first announced in 2020 by then-premier Jason Kenney.

“During design, Dialog (consultant) and the project team will consult with physicians, nurses, other health-care professionals, patients and their families, as well as community partners. They will also work with others including the Ministry of Health, Alberta Health Services, architects, engineers and other specialized consultants to build a state-of-the-art facility,” Guthrie said.

“The design process will take about three years to complete, and we are right on schedule.”

Lee said citizens want this project to happen. It stirs up a lot of emotion. It’s also been a focus for the city for several years.

“Health care is the number one priority. It doesn’t matter who you talk to in this city,” the deputy mayor said.

Guthrie said delays on the project were exacerbated in 2017 when the NDP removed it from the priority capital projects list, which effectively cancelled 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,” said UCP infrastructure minister.

Related:

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

Jasvir Deol, Alberta NDP infrastructure critic said much like his UCP predecessor, Infrastructure Minister Peter Guthrie decided to use his time to imply residents of Red Deer do not understand the complexities of building a hospital, instead of taking responsibility for the delays and committing to finishing the work.

“This is condescending and dismissive, and now is not the time for elected officials to be belittling residents who are worried their families won’t be able to get the care they need. Red Deer deserves a government that will be transparent and responsive around critical projects, and take this health care crisis seriously instead of passing the buck,” said Deol in a statement.

“Residents in Red Deer and across Central Alberta are facing capacity issues, and have been desperately waiting for the completion of the new Red Deer Regional hospital. Once again the UCP are dismissing residents’ concerns.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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