Town council ‘all in’ with support for hospital

The High Prairie Health Complex is ready to open in the next two weeks, with a transition planned for a smooth move.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News
High Prairie town council is donating $10,001 plus the cost of three tables, or $1,200, for the High Prairie Community Charity Gala April 1.

Council unanimously agreed at its March 14 to support the gala for several reasons.

“It’s time to step up,” said Mayor Linda Cox in opening debate. “The Town of High Prairie should be front and centre in supporting this hospital.
“This should be a full court press.”

During construction of the hospital, council received $98,400 in building permit fees.

“This facility is a facility that makes our town stand out,” said Cox.

The added employment at the hospital will also benefit the town in more jobs and subsequent business.

The money raised at the gala will also go toward improving patient care at the hospital so council recognized it was a win-win situation for everyone.

All councillors supported the donation because it was going to a good cause, but there were still concerns.

“It’s hard to get excited about celebrating a shell,” said Councillor Donna Deynaka, citing that the obstetrics department would not open in two weeks when the hospital opens.

Deynaka was reiterating a stand repeatedly said by Councillor Michael Long, who has called the new hospital an “empty shell” on numerous occasions and lobbied for more services.

The issue of paying for tours also concerned council because the hospital is a public facility paid for by taxpayers.

“Some of that doesn’t sit well,” said Deynaka.

Cox added the facility should be open to everyone, adding that she was confident Alberta Health Services would eventually provide tours.

After the meeting on March 24, AHS in fact announced tours for March 29 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Despite the concerns, council was “all in” with its support.

“Spend that extra dollar to show our support,” said Councillor Arlen Quartly.

Tours during the gala will be from 1-4 p.m.

The tables purchased by council will be for councillors and spouses, as well as staff and spouses.

The cost to build the hospital was about $228 million.

The second floor looking toward the main entrance, with Public Health space on the right.

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