Tara on the Red Deer Regional Hospital
What is your position on the need for hospital expansion in Red Deer?
“Even though Hospital infrastructure is completely under the decision-making jurisdiction of the Provincial Government, the needs of our community are a priority for the City.
There are numerous examples over the past four years of the City strongly advocating to the Provincial Government to fulfill our local provincial infrastructure needs; The Hospital is one of them and most certainly will continue to be a priority until we secure the expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital.
When our City team met with various Premiers and Ministers over the past term, our consistent phrase in representing Red Deerians to the Provincial Government has been, “When you build Red Deer, you build Alberta”. Infrastructure expansion in our community not only benefits Red Deerians, but all Albertans by building service capacity. Most importantly, building capacity in the Red Deer Regional Hospital ensures patients in Red Deer and region have more equitable access to health care services closer to home instead of being forced to travel to Edmonton or Calgary, especially in critical situations.”
What has Council done to support our community in this infrastructure & service need for Red Deer?
“Over the past few years our community has raised various concerns about critical provincial infrastructure needs for Red Deer, examples include the need for expanded courthouse to fulfill community safety objectives and Polytechnic University status for Red Deer College. In response to our community, City Council adopted these as advocacy matters to add the City’s voice to our community’s concerns to the Provincial Government.
Following a public meeting initiated by local Emergency Room Doctors last winter, the people of Red Deer became acutely aware of the critical need for infrastructure and service expansion at Red Deer Regional Hospital. When the Hospital didn’t receive additional funding in the Province’s 2017 budget this past spring, many of our citizens were very upset.
In response to community concern, City Council adopted an official advocacy motion requesting the Government of Alberta to prioritize the Red Deer Regional Hospital on their capital plan. As Mayor, I have written to the Minister of Health to formally submit City Council’s position on behalf of our community. We are also currently in the process of seeking letters of support from the Mayors and Councils across the Central Zone region. Once we have received letters from all participating municipalities, we will formally add these to our submission to the Minister of Health.
I have also met and spoken with our local MLA’s and the Minister of Health regarding our community’s expectations regarding Hospital infrastructure on multiple occasions. If citizens of Red Deer would like to add their voice to our community and Council’s advocacy efforts, we encourage citizens to contact the Minister of Health and your local MLA (Kim Schreiner or Barb Miller if you live in Red Deer).”
If you’re re-elected as Mayor on October 16th, will you continue to prioritize this issue?
“Absolutely. One of the greatest leadership successes of the past term was our ability to advocate successfully for long-awaited infrastructure & service needs of Red Deer. Over the past four years alone, we have successfully helped to secure Provincial decisions to:
- Keep Michener Centre open
- Keep ambulance dispatch in Red Deer & area
- Re-purpose the former Red Deer Nursing Home site for affordable seniors housing
- Expand the runway at the Red Deer Airport
- Expand the capacity at the Red Deer Courthouse
- Rebuild the QE2 and Gaetz Avenue interchange
- Partner with the City to integrate local affordable housing
Currently, the established advocacy priorities of Council are Red Deer Regional Hospital expansion, Polytechnic University status for Red Deer College, and emergency shelter capacity. It is essential that these areas remain a priority until these local needs are fulfilled by the Provincial Government.
Over my term as Mayor I have demonstrated myself as a strong advocate for the needs of Red Deer to decision-makers in the Provincial Government, and if Red Deerians choose to re-elect me I will continue to work with Council, our community and partners to secure results for the people of our city.