Premier Rachel Notley made a stop in Red Deer to talk hospital, pipeline and the upcoming 2019 Canada Winter Games. Carlie Connolly/Red Deer Express

Premier Rachel Notley makes a visit to Red Deer

Notley says next budget has lots of money set aside for Red Deer Hospital expansion, redevelopment

Premier Rachel Notley made a brief stop in Red Deer on her way out to Edmonton and spoke to the Express about some exciting news for the Red Deer Regional Hospital, the pipeline and her excitement for the fast approaching Canada Winter Games.

With a major concern of Red Deerians being the hospital, Notley said although the needs assessment isn’t entirely complete, she’s seen enough of it now to understand that Red Deer is under a great deal of pressure along with the hospital with respect to the growth not only in Red Deer, but the surrounding communities.

And she said Red Deerians can expect some change.

“When you next see the capital budget you’re going to see that we’re putting aside significant amounts of money for a major redevelopment and a major expansion to the Red Deer Hospital.”

As to her work on the pipeline, Notley said she’s going to keep pushing the argument across all of Canada to get the pipeline built.

“Instead of dividing Canada, what we want to do is bring Canada together behind Alberta to have our backs, to understand that we all need to pull together to get this pipeline built because it’s good for Alberta but it’s also good for all Canadians,” she told the Express.

She added that she’s proud that since the NDP was elected, the opinion on the pipeline has moved from four in 10 Canadians to almost seven in 10 Canadians supporting it.

“We think that’s part of the reason we were able to push the federal government into buying the pipeline when investors got nervous last Spring.”

The National Energy Board decision is coming up on Feb. 22nd with regards to details surrounding the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

“We don’t know what that decision will look like. If it goes the way we hope, it will represent a significant milestone and a significant victory and move a forward that in many ways puts the project back on track.”

She said while the federal government will obviously have to continue to consult with indigenous people and likely will not have their final decision made immediately, she thinks it will be a good sign for Alberta.

“I will be cautiously optimistic that we would see shovels in the ground in the Fall.”

Notley is excited to be back in Red Deer soon for the Canada Winter Games.

“I’m very excited about it. Our government was pleased to be able to work with Red Deer on a number of different projects to make sure that they were in place or that we were able to support the Games as a whole,” she said.

Some of those projects include the $80 million through the Gaetz interchange, the $50 million to the Gary W. Harris Centre and the $11 million through Alberta Sport Connection that helped them with the organization of the Games.

“I’m really excited. There are families and friends and athletes who have worked very hard throughout Alberta to achieve this level of excellence to compete on a national level and it’s a huge moment. It’s huge for those athletes and I’m sure the families and friends are so incredibly proud.

“On behalf of all Albertans I want to congratulate them for getting to this point and of course, we’re with them.”

She added that she’s also excited to welcome the athletes, families and supporters from other parts of the country to Alberta.

“I’m confident that Red Deer’s going to show them the best Canada Games yet.”

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