Posted on Nov 2, 2020
DANG CALLS ON UCP TO BUILD NEW EDMONTON HOSPITAL ON SCHEDULE, SCRAP DISCREDITED P3 APPROACH
EDMONTON - Thomas Dang, NDP MLA for Edmonton-South and Opposition Critic for Infrastructure, is calling on the UCP government to get the new Edmonton hospital project back on schedule, and abandon misguided ideas about building it as a public-private partnership.
“My constituents desperately need a new hospital in south Edmonton. It’s been 32 years since the Grey Nuns was built, and it’s straining under the population growth we’ve seen since then,” Dang said. “It’s unacceptable for Jason Kenney and the UCP to boast about their capital plan and then push this project back by a decade. I am deeply worried about the Grey Nuns being overwhelmed in the coming years.”
In response to questions from Dang about delays to the project on Friday, Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda posted on social media he was considering using a P3 approach for the hospital. This technique was used by the Progressive Conservatives to build schools in south Edmonton, with disastrous results.
“Students, staff and families at P3 schools have dealt with runaway heating systems they weren’t allowed to adjust, drainage problems that created massive unsafe mud pits in fields, and security fencing that fell on kids and injured them,” said Dang. “Parents in my riding continue to speak out about what a costly and unsafe failure the P3 schools have been.”
Wayne Drysdale, then-PC infrastructure minister, scrapped the P3 schools program in 2014, and admitted that P3 schools “didn’t make sense.”
“If it doesn’t make sense for an elementary school, it doesn’t make sense for a hospital, which is an exponentially more complex building, with even more Albertans relying on it to operate safely,” said Dang.
The Edmonton schools are not the only example of recent P3 failure. In 2019, the Saskatchewan government opened a new $407-million P3 hospital in North Battleford, only to discover the entire roof leaked, and ultimately had to be replaced.
“Families in south Edmonton urgently need a hospital, and they need one that is accountable to patients and taxpayers,” Dang said. “Jason Kenney must get our hospital back on the schedule laid down by the NDP government, and commit to building it as a fully public project.”