Construction is moving ahead at a steady pace on Calgary’s new cancer centre, but Premier Rachel Notley is warning that a change in government this spring could jeopardize the building’s staffing when it opens in 2023.
The $1.4-billion research and treatment centre is on time and on budget so far, with 30 per cent of the project’s total concrete poured so far.
That concrete — 37,000 cubic metres — could fill 15 Olympic swimming pools. It’ll be the largest stand-alone cancer centre in Canada, and the largest government infrastructure project ever in the province.
It’s expected to add 1,500 jobs for Calgarians over the next six years, and Notley is warning that unless the building is fully staffed, it could impact the quality of service offered.
“Yes, people should be worried about the quality of health care Albertans can count on. And there’s no question that building a centre is fundamentally important, but the commitment to staffing it and making sure that operations carry on to the highest quality possible once the centre is built is the second part of the formula,” she said.
A release sent out by the NDP questioned the UCP’s commitment to ongoing funding for the project.
“Construction of the Calgary cancer centre is well underway and it is ridiculous to suggest that a United Conservative government would waste hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars by cancelling it. Should Albertans give us a mandate to form government, the Calgary cancer [centre] will be a fully functioning health care facility,” said Christine Myatt, UCP Leader Jason Kenney’s spokesperson, in an emailed statement.
The statement said the UCP platform, which will be released closer to the election, won’t include deep cuts, but rather cut inefficiency and waste within the system.
Motions passed at the UCP’s policy convention called for more cost-effective health-care spending, and a mix of public and private care options.
An MLA with the party was criticized last year for calling the planned building a “fancy box,” and asking why a lower-cost option was not selected.
The centre, when opened, will nearly double the aging Tom Baker Cancer Centre’s capacity to treat patients with radiation therapy, to meet an anticipated 60 per cent increase in demand by 2030.
Notley also criticized past governments for not prioritizing the new centre sooner.
“By keeping places like the Tom Baker Centre over-capacity from 2003, to when this is built in 2023, that kind of Alberta advantage is not, frankly, what Albertans want to see continued,” she said.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.