Beaverlodge seeking partner to build new hospital

·2 min read

The Town of Beaverlodge is going to market in search of a partner to build a new health complex, said mayor Gary Rycroft.

“This means we’re a whole lot closer than we’ve ever been to replacing our facility,” Rycroft said.

“I’m very optimistic.”

Beaverlodge has long lobbied for a new hospital. Rycroft first met with Alberta Heath in 1986, as the then-owner of the ambulance service, about foundational issues in the current facility.

Last spring Beaverlodge established the Mountview Health Complex Committee (MHCC) to pursue hospital replacement utilizing private funds through the company P3 Capital Partners.

Rycroft told the News last summer P3 is known for helping build hospitals, schools and other infrastructure and then leasing the projects to the Alberta government.

The health complex would be built on the 22 acres donated to the town by the McFarlane family approximately a decade ago.

Rycroft is an MHCC member along with town councillors Gena Jones and Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus and county councillors Bob Marshall and Peter Harris.

“Our initial conversations with (AHS) have been very positive,” Rycroft said this week.

Rycroft said MHCC is seeking proposals for construction of the facility, which would be turned over to AHS.

Jeff Johnston, Beaverlodge chief administrative officer, said the request for partnership will go through Alberta Purchasing Commission.

P3 Capital Partners’ role in this process is as a facilitator, and the developer would be the party to lease the facility to the province to recover costs, he said.

Depending on the proposal, the developer may then “operate” the building in carrying out maintenance while AHS leases, or Alberta Health may maintain the building, he said.

“We’ll see what comes up and what fits best,” Rycroft said.

Alberta Health personnel would also have a voice in the requests for proposals phase, since he said it would have to indicate what its needs are for the facility.

A design hasn’t been completed, but since its formation MHCC has engaged various stakeholders, including AHS, to begin the process, Rycroft said.

MHCC has opted to refer to the proposed facility as a health complex rather than a hospital, but Rycroft said this is mainly a matter of terminology.

“It will be doing everything this hospital is doing now,” he said.

There are various reasons for using the different term, including aiding advocacy if critics point out the South Peace also has a new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital, he said.

Rycroft said timelines and cost estimates for the project will depend on the proposals submitted by developers.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News