Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan pledges to speak up for city needs

He’s learning more about hospital shortfalls, hospice expansion

New Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan said he’s seen the evidence, talked to supporters — and will be endorsing the Red Deer hospital expansion.

Stephan has already met with the group of doctors and community advocates who have been pushing for more beds, operating rooms and a cardiac catheterization lab at the hospital. He feels they have made a “principled” case.

Since a number of studies have shown over the years the local hospital is overburdened and underservices the regional population, Stephan feels the expansion supporters “have done their homework and have the facts” to support their push for more “valuable, lifesaving” services at the hospital.

Stephan’s new United Conservative government has not yet officially committed to the project, only being elected on April 16.

But Stephan pledged to work closely with his “competent and caring” Red Deer-North MLA colleague, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, to lobby for the project and other city needs.

He believes central Alberta gained political pull when three area MLAs were appointed to the provincial cabinet — including new Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen (MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake) and new Recreation and Parks Minister Jason Nixon, MLA for Rocky Mountain House-Rimbey.

“I think it’s a great thing for Red Deer … we work together well and have a strong team.”

Stephan admitted his first couple of weeks in government have been a “sharp learning curve,” but he’s been impressed by the kind of work being done in the community.

One of Stephan’s first orders of business has been to familiarize himself with services, such as the Red Deer Hospice. He was invited to tour the facility Friday to find out more about the six-room expansion that’s been embarked upon.

Stephan revealed he gained some personal knowledge of the hospice when his uncle died there a few years ago and feels it fills an important need.

The $5.2-million hospice expansion would increase rooms to 16 from 10, and add two multi-purpose spaces and a family area.

Expansion campaign director Val Hilario said $2 million has so far been raised towards covering these costs.

She admitted corporate sponsorships have been harder to obtain in this tough economy, so she next plans to apply for a $125,000 provincial grant this spring.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

HIGH LEVEL, Alta. — A fire-threatened town in northern Alberta says a… Continue reading

India’s ruling party claims win with assured lead in votes

NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party claimed it had… Continue reading

China says door open to trade talks, but slams tech controls

BEIJING — China held the door open to resuming talks in the… Continue reading

Clean energy one of Canada’s fastest-growing industries

OTTAWA — Canada’s clean-energy sector is growing faster than the economy as… Continue reading

Red Deer’s single parents and children at greatest risk of poverty, says report

Yet almost half of local low-income families are people living alone

Dogs and drugs don’t mix: Red Deer business wants to leave downtown after 18 years

One business owner is done with downtown Red Deer after 18 years.… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Canada’s Rebecca Marino drops second-round French Open qualifying match

PARIS — Canada’s Rebecca Marino fell just short in a second-round qualifying… Continue reading

Acclaimed writer Casey Plett wins $60K First Novel Award for ‘Little Fish’

TORONTO — Casey Plett has won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award… Continue reading

Nik Wallenda and sister plan highwire walk over Times Square

NEW YORK — For his next trick, daredevil Nik Wallenda plans to… Continue reading

Gardening: Adding a new dimension with water

A water feature, large or small, adds a whole new dimension to… Continue reading

Alberta throne speech promises changes to expand economy, end carbon tax

EDMONTON — The new Alberta government has set its first legislature sitting… Continue reading

Wider fire bans, off-highway vehicle restrictions in northern Alberta

The fire ban prohibiting campfires and unauthorized burning, and restricting the use… Continue reading

WestJet pilot injured by green laser light while approaching Orlando airport

A WestJet pilot flying from Newfoundland to Orlando International Airport had his… Continue reading

Most Read