Radiation treatments part of new cancer centre

City says expanded parking should have been part of project’s planning

CONSTRUCTION TO START-To be built near the Red Deer Regional Hospital

City officials say concrete plans for expanded parking should have been developed in tandem with construction of a $59.56 million cancer centre near the hospital.

Ground was broken recently for the Central Alberta Cancer Centre, which is part of the province’s plan to open a ‘corridor’ of cancer treatment centres across Alberta including centres in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.

Prior to this, patients had to travel to Calgary or Edmonton for radiation therapy.

But providing a permanent parking structure isn’t part of the plan.

City Manager Craig Curtis said the construction of such a structure has been under discussion for years.

“We feel the parking structure is long overdue,” said Curtis. “It’s a priority and the province should have considered the two together.

“It doesn’t seem inherently logical to not deal with the two (projects) concurrently.”

The new Centre will feature added forms of treatment and examination rooms, outpatient clinics, a medical day unit, radiation therapy and a pharmacy. Treatments for multiple cancers, including lung, breast, gastrointestinal and prostate will be offered as well.

“This will be a state-of-the-art facility where central Albertans will be able to access top quality care,” said Ken Hughes, AHS board chair. “Albertans should – and will – be able to receive quality cancer care closer to their communities. This, in turn, will relieve pressure at other Alberta cancer facilities and improve access for all Albertans.”

Meanwhile, the facility was originally approved by the Municipal Planning Commission last month. The parking issue for both hospital staff and patients was raised at that time as well, and MPC heard that Alberta Health Services had 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.

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.

But as Curtis points out, ultimately, a permanent parkade-type structure is simply necessary.

This would also help alleviate the inevitable overflow parking on nearby neighbourhood streets. Currently, there are two-hour limits on some of the nearby routes and parking meters on others.

Curtis also pointed out that a parking structure isn’t something that would demand a chunk of funding without any sort of return.

“There would be a charge for the parking so there is a cost-recovery to it,” he said. “It’s not a structure that wouldn’t have a revenue stream to it.”

At last month’s MPC meeting, John Eadie, director of project management for rural Alberta with AHS, said his department was pushing hard for a permanent, multi-storey parkade down the road.

For now, local patients applaud the construction of the Central Alberta Cancer Centre, pointing out that less travel reduces stress when one is fighting disease.

“Fighting cancer is stressful enough without having to travel for treatment and leave your loved ones behind,” said Stacy Larsen, a local cancer patient who recently travelled to Edmonton for radiation therapy.

“I am very pleased that the cancer centre in Red Deer is expanding. All of central Alberta will benefit.”

Brenda Hubley, lead for the radiation therapy corridor project, said radiation typically takes only half an hour so patients undergoing treatments would either have to daily travel to Edmonton or Calgary or stay in either city for several days at a time.

She said the new facility will of course change all that, saving patients hours, days and weeks away from their families and support systems during their most vulnerable times.

The Central Alberta Cancer Centre should be completed by January of 2013.

Just Posted

Innisfail RCMP respond to home invasion

Male victim sustained non-life threatening head injury

Mountie seriously injured in early morning collision near Devon

An erratic driver is said to have collided with an RCMP cruiser

Vehicle thefts in Red Deer on the rise

Over 1,000 vehicles stolen in the span of a few months

WATCH: Red Deer 9-1-1 dispatcher thanked for birth assistance

Stearns family appreciative to Holly Shrader for helping deliver baby

Superintendent Ken Foster sees progress in city policing

Red Deer RCMP Superintendent has been on the job for a year and has seen success

WATCH: Red Deerians come together to ‘light the night’

Traditional Red Deer Lights the Night sees thousands

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

Canadian screen stars want ‘action’ from industry meeting on sexual misconduct

‘Of course there’s been sexual harassment here. Absolutely. No question.’

Opioid prescriptions up across Canada: report

The report shows the number of opioid prescriptions rose by almost seven per cent, while daily doses on average dropped

Russian meddling has implications for Canada

Kosovo president Hashim Thaci warns that Russian meddling has implications for Canada

Health Canada hints at government’s plans for legal pot

Health warnings, plain covers for pot packs under proposed regulations

Washington governor tells BC don’t be ‘daunted’ by Trump

“I want to assure this assembly that no matter who is in the White House, it won’t affect Washington state’s relationship with Canada or British Columbia.”

Feds plan to spend billions on housing strategy

However much of the $15.9 billion will not be spent until after the next election in 2019

Most Read