Old High Prairie Hospital demolition announced

Chris Clegg

South Peace News

It was an announcement High Prairie has been looking forward to for quite some time.

The Government of Alberta has approved a project to demolish three vacant Alberta Health Services [AHS]-owned properties: the J.B. Wood Nursing Home, the High Prairie Health Complex and the old EMS station and garage, all in High Prairie.

The buildings, each about 55 years old, were vacated in April 2017 when healthcare and continuing care services were moved to the new High Prairie Health Complex and J.B. Wood Continuing Care Centre.

“We are very pleased the project to demolish the old healthcare buildings in High Prairie has been approved,” says Gregory Cummings, chief zone officer for AHS North Zone.

“The new hospital provides a significant upgrade to healthcare facilities in the area and removing the old infrastructure is the final step in completing the transition.”

Alberta Infrastructure, which is leading the demolition, will be issuing a request for proposal in the coming weeks for consulting services for the project.

“Alberta’s government has heard loud and clear from the people of High Prairie that they want this demolition completed and we are getting the job done,” Premier Jason Kenney said.

“Not only will this work create jobs, but it will make way for exciting new development in the heart of the community,” he adds.

The demolition of the buildings and remediation of the land is expected to take about 10 months to complete. Specific timelines will be shared once details are confirmed.

“High Prairie is a priority area for our government. This is illustrated through the removal of these old buildings and supporting growing healthcare needs at the High Prairie Health Complex, such as the construction on the new renal dialysis clinic,” says Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.

AHS and the Alberta government will continue to explore options with the Town of High Prairie and other local stakeholders in regards to the site’s future.

“Our town council has been working closely with the Alberta government and Alberta Health Services to get this project underway,” says Mayor Brian Panasiuk.

“We’re very excited to see the buildings demolished, making room for new development.”

Until demolition work begins, AHS will continue to implement and monitor security measures to deter vandalism on these vacant buildings.

“A project like this benefits all of northwestern Alberta,” says Dan Williams, MLA for Peace River.

“Alberta’s government is focused on strategic projects that deliver value and jobs when they’re needed most,” he adds.

“This is great news – thank you to the premier and the provincial government for supporting this project,” says Barry Sharkawi, president of the High Prairie & Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The old buildings are an eyesore and a safety risk, and this project makes our whole community happy,” he adds.

AHS is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

The old High Prairie Health Complex is set to be demolished in the coming months as the provincial government made the announcement Feb 3. Standing left to right are Town of High Prairie Councillor Brian Gilroy, High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce president Barry Sharkawi, Town of High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk, Big Lakes County Reeve Ken Matthews, High Prairie Health Complex site manager Janet Farney and Peace River MLA Dan Williams on site at the old hospital.

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