MPC approves Cancer Centre expansion plan

New radiation vaults means patients won't have to travel to Calgary and Edmonton

EXPANSION -The City's Cancer Centre at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been approved for a 54

EXPANSION -The City's Cancer Centre at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been approved for a 54

Red Deer’s Municipal Planning Commission gave the green light to a $57 million expansion for the Cancer Centre on Monday.

Submitted on behalf of Alberta Health Services and Alberta Infrastructure, plans for the 54,000 sq. ft. project show it will be linked to the current Cancer Centre premises located at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

A number of conditions were included in MPC’s approval of the development plan, including traffic and parking impact assessments.

Application for a building permit is the next step, say stakeholders.

The new building will ultimately house three radiation vaults – a first for those requiring this kind of treatment and who live in the local region.

“It’s the same cancer care with the addition of the radiation therapy,” said Amber Latreille, project assistant with Alberta Health Services. People currently have to travel to Calgary and Edmonton for the treatments that the new facility will one day provide, she said.

When fully operational, the expanded centre will include outpatient clinics, a medical day unit with treatment areas for chemotherapy and other treatments and procedures, radiation treatment services with specialized treatment planning and pharmacy services including a satellite pharmacy for cancer medications.

MPC also heard that construction will remove 45 parking stalls for the new building and ultimately another 135 stalls will be needed once the facility is up and running.

AHS has therefore contracted with nearby Bettenson’s Holdings for the lease of space for 180 stalls starting this November. As part of the conditions for the development permit to move ahead, MPC also decided that the parking area should be hard-surfaced within one year as well.

Also helping make up for lost stalls during construction is the Traveler’s Inn on Gaetz Ave. A contract, to be renewed yearly if necessary, has been set up with the Inn for 50 parking stalls for use by hospital staff.

Ultimately, a prospective parkade on the hospital’s parking lot’s southwest corner is the goal.

“Until that is done, they will maintain the parking at the Bettenson site,” said Vicki Swainson, deputy development officer with the City of Red Deer. “The overall parking strategy should provide a slight improvement to the parking surrounding the hospital, with a final solution being a major parking structure built at the hospital.”

John Eadie, director or project management for rural Alberta with AHS, said the main focus now is managing parking needs on a temporary basis and getting the expanded Cancer Center up and running.

“We’re pushing hard to try and get a permanent, multi-storey parkade as a future development.”

Meanwhile, a groundbreaking for the Cancer Centre is set for Sept. 22 with construction on facility expected to begin late this year.

The facility should be complete by January of 2013.