An innovative concept around medical care in Grande Prairie has received a $500,000 boost from the City of Grande Prairie. 

During the city’s budget deliberations, council allocated the funds to Maskwa Medical Centre from its Strategic Initiative fund on Nov. 17. 

Maskwa asked the city for the funds so it could begin designing and engineering phases of the project in a letter to council dated Nov. 10. 

“This region is very passionate about the future of health care, and so adding amenities such as this will be a great opportunity,” said Mayor Jackie Clayton. 

Maskwa will also ask the County of Grande Prairie and the MD of Greenview for the same amount of financial aid for the centre’s planning phases. 

According to a document provided by Maskwa to the city, the current estimated cost is $35 million for the building and about $2.5 million for an annual operating cost. 

Maskwa plans to create a medical centre that will focus on patient care and ensure patients “do not get stuck in the referral cycle.” Additionally, the facility will train physicians locally.

“We are asking our three local municipalities equally to assist us in the early costs of design, architect and engineering to have a shovel in the ground by mid-2024 to complete the facility by early 2026 for occupancy by the University of Alberta Family Medicine Academic team,” said Ken Drysdale, Maskwa Medical Centre’s chairman.

“​​Our board is quite confident we will find funding for a project of this importance that will ensure better access to medical professionals for residents in NW Alberta.”

He said a request for proposal is going out on Nov. 15 and expects an accurate cost estimate and schedule by April 2024.

A MOU was signed with the governors of the U of A on Oct. 24, said Drysdale in his letter. 

“The following steps within this MOU agreement are to start negotiations on a long-term lease agreement aligned with the life of the building and its intended purpose of training medical professionals for NW Alberta.”

According to a document from Maskwa, the centre will have about 20 resident physicians on-site, providing physician access to 12,000 patients.  

“This regional asset in healthcare is really representative of the innovative and entrepreneurial thinking that our region is famous for,” said Clayton, noting the passion of the group looking to create the clinic.  

The city has granted $50,000 to Maskwa to date, and the County of Grande Prairie and MD of Greenview have each contributed $25,000. Additionally, Maskwa board members have donated $250,000, Support the Girls donated $50,000, and Cenovus donated $20,000.

Currently, Maskwa is working on a land agreement with Northwestern Polytechnic.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 23, 2023 at 09:47

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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