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Funding for Dr.Cooke demolition, renovation set aside in Alberta budget

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The Alberta budget had a surprise in store for Lloydminster residents.

Under the budget, rolled out last week, the Lloydminster Continuing Care Centre (LCC) was listed in the capital budget. The amount allocated was set at $6 million over the next three years, with $3 million in 2017, $2 million in 2018, and $1 million in 2018.

However, the money listed will not be going towards the newly-constructed LCC. Instead, the funds have been set aside in case of a decision from Alberta’s Health Minister, Sarah Hoffman, to demolish a wing of the Dr.Cooke Extended Care Centre, as well as cover associated renovations.

The subject was raised in the Alberta legislature on Thursday afternoon by Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke. Starke directed questions towards Hoffman about how she was handling the question of the Dr.Cooke Centre, referencing her visit to the centre, as well as visits made by the CEO of Alberta Heath Services and her deputy minister in the last two years.

“I have followed up with both of the officials that were identified and said that I believe we need to have further consultation with the community,” said Hoffman, in the legislature.

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“I can tell you, though, that when I had a chance to tour that facility alongside the member
opposite, it certainly didn’t appear to be the kind of place that would have longevity or a quality of life moving forward for residents if it were to continue as a long-term care facility. We want to make sure that they can get into the bathroom in a wheelchair, that staff can use a lift and take care of the patients in the facility. Certainly, this old facility is past its best-before date, but we’re going to work with
the community to figure out the best path as we move forward, and I invite the member opposite to help us with that.”

Hoffman’s press secretary, Timothy Wilson, said the province is planning further engagement with the community regarding plans for the centre, as well as continuing care capacity in Lloydminster and other concerns residents may have. A schedule on the engagement remains unclear.

“Details will be shared once planning is further developed,” said Wilson.

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