SURREY mayoral hopeful Doug McCallum and the Safe Surrey Coalition are pledging to use city-owned land around the old City Hall as an enticement to the BC government to secure a new hospital for the City of Surrey. The 15 acres surrounding the former home of City of Surrey staff and services currently are perfectly situated for a new health care facility.
In spite of a new tower opening that added 151 beds on June 1 and a new Emergency Department in operation since October 1, 2013, Surrey Memorial Hospital is still struggling with demand. The emergency room is now serving 10,000 patients a month, which is a 25 per cent increase from 2013.
The irresponsible decision made with regards to the old City Hall by the current mayor and Council can be mitigated by using the vacant lands as a means to secure a new hospital, says McCallum.
“We are growing far too fast to rely solely on overwhelmed facilities such as Surrey Memorial and Peach Arch,” says McCallum. “With the city-owned lands next to the old City Hall sitting vacant and unused, there is a real opportunity to begin substantial conversations with the provincial government for a new hospital.”
At 317 square kilometres, the City of Surrey is almost three times the size of Vancouver. The distance between Surrey Memorial to the North and Peace Arch to the South is 17 kilometres, which is increasingly dangerous for such 590,610 population that is spread out over such large geographic area.
The old City Hall site represents a location that is conveniently placed between the two existing facilities. Furthermore, with land costs often a major stumbling block to proceeding on constructing new hospitals, the City of Surrey can take a proactive approach to negotiating with the provincial government.
With 1,000 new residents moving to Surrey every month, adequate health care capacity is becoming a real concern for local neighbourhoods, says McCallum.
“I have heard this issue brought up by residents throughout this campaign, and so I think that it is important for the City of Surrey to do what it can to initiate a formal process with the BC government,” says McCallum. “$150 million might have been wasted on an unnecessary new City Hall, but we can bring a positive to this mistake by using the lands we own to secure a desperately needed new hospital for the City.”