Old hospital demolition announced

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

A very happy High Prairie town council is still taking a cautious approach to information in a letter stating the old High Prairie Regional Health Complex will be demolished this year.

“To me, it’s information but it holds the government accountable,” said Mayor Brian Panasiuk at council’s June 8 meeting.

Peace River MLA Dan Williams wrote council May 29 outlining the government’s plan. He wrote the government is actively engaged in carrying out proper due diligence and planning relating to safety of the community and contractors that will complete the work.

Although not mentioned in Williams’ letter, asbestos in the older portion of the complex is the high priority.

“Infrastructure procured a hazardous material consultant to compete the required onsite sampling and identification,” wrote Williams.

“The Abatement and Demolition request for proposal will include the findings of the material sampling. This is to ensure a successful and safe outcome of the project.”

What council is most interested in is when will work start.

“The [RFP] is anticipated to be posted in July 2021 with the contract to be awarded in August 2021,” wrote Williams.

“Planning work to safely remove the hazardous material will commence after the contract is awarded.

“Infrastructure anticipates hazardous material abatement will be complete in November 2021 at which point demolition will begin.”

Williams expects demolition to be complete by March 2022 “with final site restoration to be complete in late spring 2022.”

Panasiuk was pleased with the progress.

“This keeps the government in some way accountable,” he said. “It’s been put out there.”

Councillor Brian Gilroy was also pleased, but wanted updates when appropriate.

“Once it’s [the contract] is awarded. . .tell us,” he said.

Panasiuk agreed, saying council should be kept informed as each step is taken. He realized; however, it would be another 2-3 months before another update is expected.

Council wrote the government May 10 asking for an update. They wanted to see the old hospital demolished as quickly as possible due to such issues as vandalism and a potential fire hazard. Continued supervision of the site is also a concern.

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