The City's Mayor, Peter Brown, said that he was aware that as part of a joint proposal to Alberta Health by One Health and QUALICO Communities, there could be a pause to the renovation of the city's community health centre. 

One Health Associate Medical is an Airdrie-based clinic, that lists its services as, 'full-service medical clinic offering timely access to urgent and ongoing health concerns,' while QUALICO Communities is a Calgary-based land developer, with an Airdrie housing development in the city's Southwest known as Vantage Rise. 

In an additional written statement provided to DiscoverAirdrie, Mayor Brown wrote that he was also aware that as part of the proposal, the request was to reroute funds from the AUC [Airdrie Urgent Care] renovations to the new project.

DiscoverAirdrie has requested further comment from Alberta Health on the status of the previously allocated funds for the health centre's renovations. 

When asked about the joint proposal, Mayor Brown said he could not offer many details, adding that the individuals who put the proposal together could offer more insight. However, when asked to compare the planned renovations of the urgent care centre to the new project proposal, he said that the two are not comparable.

"In my estimation, they're not even on the same playing field. It's an innovative solution to the existing urgent care. [Urgent Care] requires a lot of upkeep; it's an old building, there's no parking, there's no ambulance bay, and there's a lot of things that are lacking over there."

According to the mayor, the new project is meant to combine acute care and urgent care.

"It's a new facility [and] it's a much larger space."

Earlier this week, it was made public that previously scheduled renovations to the community health centre in Airdrie had been pausedThe $8.4 million allocated for renovating Airdrie's Urgent Care Centre had been allocated some time ago, and according to Michelle Bates, Executive Director of the Airdrie Health Foundation, planning had been happening for at least a year.

Bates said that initially, the renovations were to begin in the fall of 2023 but there were a few delays.

"Planning and drawings had been completed and staff were to start moving out of the health centre this month with construction also to start," Bates previously stated. "The AHF, needless to say, was disappointed with this announcement. We hope that this delay is short and that construction will start very soon in the Airdrie Community Health Centre."

Mayor Brown was also asked about a timeline for the joint proposal, and in a written statement, he said that while there is a timeline in the proposal that is being reviewed by Alberta Health, 'it will be up to Alberta Health to determine what timeline would work for them if they were to move forward with it.'

The Mayor was also queried as to why there wasn't more public engagement on the matter.

"It's an idea to combine primary care and acute care and divert patients to the right level of care and provide an excessive amount of new patients available in primary care; saving all kinds of money, and providing increased service levels. That's where it started," he said. "It's pretty hard to bring that to the community. You need higher levels of detail."

According to the mayor, more detailed plans weren't drawn up until last month.

"At the end of the day, there's nothing about transparency here. In my opinion, this is an idea that's supported, in principle by the Government of Alberta. The stakeholder engagement is coming and there is substance to this proposal, and it is a great benefit to Airdrie.

When asked why the joint proposal was not considered a separate matter unto itself, Mayor Brown said that the decision to pause the renovations of the Urgent Care Centre was that of the Health Minister.

In its previous statement, Alberta Health wrote that it decided to pause the Airdrie Urgent Care Centre renovations to, 'thoroughly review this proposal and its innovative project delivery.'

"We are working to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients and residents and will share more information as soon as possible."

Some of the previously planned renovations to the urgent care centre included changing the floor plan, which would result in more Urgent Care beds. Among other things, this included adding another triage, as well as bringing the RAZ [Rapid Assessment Zone] and UC beds closer together, which would increase the size of the waiting room. The renovations were meant to be completed by the end of this year.

On Friday, an in-person engagement session will be held in Airdrie regarding the future of the area's healthcare. The open forum will be held at the Town & Country Centre from 12 until 2 p.m.

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