Chamber petitions for hospital demolition

Town of High Prairie staff, EMS, fire crews and High Prairie RCMP were on scene of a fire at the old High Prairie Health Complex on Sept. 18 around 1:50 p.m. Calls for demolition of the site are increasing.

Chris Clegg
Richard Froese
South Peace News

A petition is being launched to lobby the provincial government to demolish the old High Prairie Health Complex.

The High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce is spearheading the petition suggested by James Waikle at the monthly chamber meeting Nov. 21.

“We encourage everyone to sign the petition,” president Barry Sharkawi says.

“The site has become a health and safety risk for the community.”

The chamber plans to set out petitions in various locations around the community.

Waikle attended High Prairie town council’s meeting Nov. 12 asking the hospital be torn down.

“It’s a massive eyesore,” Waikle told council.

“Clearly, the fence around the property is not a deterrent [to crime],” he added.

Mayor Brian Panasiuk replied council will “continue to be pressing them.”

“We are well aware of the hazards and vandalism in there,” he said.

“I’m glad to hear you guys are working on it,” said Waikle.

Councillor Brian Gilroy suggested a petition would help the cause.

“Anything to get that thing taken down,” said Waikle. “I don’t think you’ll find more than two people who [want to keep it].”

“It’s a tough sell with the government right now,” said Panasiuk.

A fire in the old hospital Sept. 18 reignited steps to plea the provincial government to demolish the old building. The building has been vacant since the new High Prairie Health Complex east of town opened in April 2017.

Sharkawi says the site on Highway 2 is in prime location for future development.

“A large derelict building on the main thoroughfare in town does not give potential investors confidence that High Prairie is a town that wants to grow and that people want to invest in,” Sharkawi says.

The old hospital and former J.B. Wood Continuing Care home are located on 10.46 acres of land.

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