An artist’s rendering of the parkade proposed for the corner of 3942 50A Ave.

Planning commission approves five-storey parkade at hospital

Patients, visitors and staff who suffer recurring parking pains at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre should soon receive 1,100 stalls worth of relief.

Patients, visitors and staff who suffer recurring parking pains at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre should soon receive 1,100 stalls worth of relief.

The city’s municipal planning commission has approved the development of a five-storey parkade on the southeast corner of the hospital’s 3942 50A Ave. property. Construction of the $44-million project is expected to begin this fall and take about 18 months to complete, said Kerry Bales, chief zone officer for Alberta Health Services’ central zone.

“I think probably spring-summer 2016 is what we’re aiming for.”

The parkade will have an elevator and parking for bicycles. It will be constructed with stained precast concrete, and perforated aluminum plate curtain walls to the north, south and east.

The building’s footprint will cover approximately 88,260 square feet, and its gross floor area over all five levels will be about 441,320 square feet.

Once completed, the parkade will increase the number of parking stalls at the hospital to 2,003 from the current 1,215. It will be engineered so that two additional levels can be added in the future, as the need arises.

Although the recent expansion of the Central Alberta Cancer Centre increased the need for parking at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, the decision to build a parkade reflects the general growth of operations at the hospital, said Bales.

He pointed out that the project will be debt-financed, with its cost recouped from future parking revenues.

“There are no health care or public tax dollars that go into the construction of the parkade.”

Members of the commission voted unanimously to support the parkade application.

“Although I have some reservations about the magnitude and scale, and of the impact of that, I think ultimately it will serve to alleviate many of the long-standing negative parking impacts for the surrounding residents, and some of the parking challenges in the neighbourhood to the south that have been experienced,” said Mayor Tara Veer.

Peter Holloway, a citizen representative on the commission, expressed concerns about the loss of parking during construction. But Kyle Schultz, Alberta Health Service’s project manager, said the laydown area for the work should be restricted to the fenced construction area.

“They build these parkades in downtown Calgary, and they’re given much less real estate to lay down than we’re giving them,” said Schultz.

Alberta Health Services previously made arrangements for temporary parking at the former Bettenson’s Sand and Gravel premises northwest of the hospital, and for staff parking at the former UFA Co-op property at 5432 45th St.

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