By Вen Li
The new Alberta Children’s hospital is a go, but not everyone approves of its location.
The $200 million, 50,000 square-metre facility, to be located on West Campus, will be completed in 2005, and will provide opportunities for research and academic programs.
But members of the University Heights community are concerned about the noise and traffic the facility will bring and its environmental impact.
"We’re concerned about the process, the proposed interchange, the effect on our community [and] the concentration of medical resources in one area of the city," said Penny Kome, University Heights Community Association Vice-president. "We’re concerned that our community is surrounded by institutions, and the decisions institutions make have a profound impact on the quality of our life here."
Presently, 1,300 cars travel on Ulrich Road daily, while the community has only 400 homes. They anticipate an increase in traffic once the hospital is built, according to Kome. She said traffic was one of the concerns not fully addressed in the initial consultation process.
"The city, the residents and the public of the city of Calgary have had very limited opportunity to present their concerns to the CRHA about the location of the new hospital," said Kome.
But Calgary Regional Health Authority VP Communications Roman Cooney says that residents’ concerns will be addressed.
"We’re just starting phase two of the consultations, and [traffic is one of the issues] we want to work with the community on," said Cooney. "We made a commitment at the beginning of the process that we would work with the communities and the university and the city and the province."
But the planning process isn’t over yet, said Cooney.
"It’s important to stress that there are several months ahead of discussion and we’re not taking anything for granted."
The new hospital will be a part of Alberta’s child health network, said Cooney, and will benefit patients and professionals in Calgary and Alberta.
"In terms of benefits for children, having it at that particular location provides a higher and better quality of care by having it close to the physicians and professionals," said Cooney. "It’s a very attractive environment for professionals. Bringing more people to the university and health care can only be good for our patients.".