Southwest Edmonton 'most logical place' for new hospital, says mayor

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says Ellerslie Road and 127th Street is the 'most logical place' for a new hospital earmarked for $400 million in Thursday's budget

The $400M promised in Thursday's budget won't be enough to 'buy the whole hospital,' finance minister says

Mayor Don Iveson says he prefers a southwest location for a new city hospital promised $400 million in Thursday's provincial budget.

Ellerslie Road and 127th Street is the 'most logical place' for the new Edmonton hospital mentioned in Thursday's provincial budget, says Mayor Don Iveson.

The Alberta government budget — which also commits to renovations at the Misericordia Hospital and a new youth mental health facility at the Royal Alexandra Hospital — has allocated $400 million over four years to get the new hospital started.

"The most logical place in my mind is in Heritage Valley around Ellerslie Road and 127th Street," Iveson said Friday. "But ultimately, it's up to the province to determine. They do have land there and we will bring the train there in the medium term, so it seems like a logical place since that's where the strongest growth has been is on the south side."

The NDP government has not revealed the location for the new hospital. But back in 2014, while in opposition, the NDP launched an online petition calling on the then-Tory government to build a new hospital in southwest Edmonton to replace the aging Misericordia.

Last October, a report by Alberta Health Services highlighted the need for a new facility "to meet the need of the Edmonton Zone and larger catchment area."

"The most critical risks of non-approval are patient safety and patient and community satisfaction as a result of continued use of aging facilities and the inability to meet current and future service demands," the report said.

A southwest location is also the preference of Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare.

"It's an area that caters to young families and will take pressures away from the Misercordia and the Grey Nuns that are incredibly busy hospitals as a result of the growth of the population," said Azocar.

She said in June 2016, staff at the Grey Nuns Hospital delivered more than 600 babies, the most births ever in that facility in a month.

Azocar suggested the new hospital would provide an opportunity to continue building resources in needed areas such as mental health and addictions.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci told CBC that $400 million won't be enough to build the new hospital.

"That doesn't buy the whole hospital," he said Friday on CBC's Edmonton AM.

Ceci said he isn't sure about the total cost of the hospital, but he compared the potential cost to the Calgary Cancer Centre, slated to open in 2024, which he said will cost more than $1 billion.

The last new hospital to be completed in Alberta was the Peter Lougheed Hospital, opened in Calgary in 1988 at a cost of $113 million.