Premier John Horgan announces that Surrey’s new hospital will be located in Cloverdale, next to KPU. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

UPDATE: Surrey getting a new hospital, in Cloverdale

Premier John Horgan said the ‘brand new hospital’ will be built near Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Surrey will be getting a new hospital, in Cloverdale.

Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix were in Cloverdale at the Museum of Surrey on Monday to announce the “brand new hospital” will be built beside Kwantlen Polytechnic University, which is located at 5500-180th Street.

“It’s going to be a very fast-paced process,” Horgan said.

“It’s a happy day.”

Horgan said the province’s business plan may take 12 months to put together.

“I think we’ll be through the business plan about this time next year in 2020 and then we’ll be going to tender,” Horgan said, adding shovels could break ground by the end of 2021.

The new hospital will have an emergency department, inpatient beds, operating rooms, and laboratory, diagnostic and outpatient services.

READ ALSO: Plans for new Surrey hospital to be updated Monday

READ ALSO: Surrey MLA decries ‘fire sale’ of land

Dix told Black Press Media the challenge is to build a hospital that not only addresses the needs of residents, but also complements other hospitals in the area.

“(Surrey Memorial) is full and everyone is stuck in the emergency room when they’re admitted – they can’t go into the wards – so we’re trying to alleviate some of that.”

He also said the Cloverdale hospital will have more beds for elective surgeries.

“It’s super-exciting for Cloverdale,” Dix said, “because you’re talking about a huge number of employees working here. You also have to think about how they’re going to get here, where they will live, how they’re going to deal with that.”

Councillor Doug Elford said the announcement means big changes are coming to the area.

“(Cloverdale’s) going to have doctors’ offices, support services, everything down here is going to change,” he said Monday.

Elford said traffic routes, including Highway 10, around the area may be changing too.

“It’s all going to be based on the services around the hospital. Doctors will want to be close. It’s going to change the face of Cloverdale completely.”

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum told Black Press Media the announcement was great news for the residents of Surrey.

“It’s been long overdue.”

McCallum said the choice of Cloverdale is significant because it is well-positioned in an area of need, between both Langley Memorial and Peace Arch hospitals, and southeast of Surrey Memorial.

McCallum said he plans to sit down with TransLink to push hard for better transportation to and from Cloverdale.

In terms of the traffic congestion that a new hospital will bring, he said the City is going to embrace more technology to solve potential gridlock woes.

“We’re going to be bringing some initiatives ahead on how to improve traffic across the city.”

Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO of Fraser Health, said Surrey’s new hospital “allows us to re-envision how health services can meet the demands of this fast-growing and diverse community with an expansion of services and the incorporation of virtual health-care services that go beyond the walls of the hospital.”

Surrey is currently served by Surrey Memorial Hospital, opened in 1959, Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock, opened in 1954, and the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre which was opened in Green Timbers in 2011.

In the 1990s, premier Mike Harcourt’s NDP provincial government bought some property at 5750 Panorama Drive, near 152nd Street and Highway 10, as a potential site for a new hospital. In subsequent years Liberal premier Gordon Campbell staged a press conference on that property and declared, “We will be building a hospital here.”

This, of course, did not happen. The Liberals sold the Panorama property for $20,516,000 in March 2014.

Jinny Sims, NDP MLA for Surrey-Panorama, told the Now-Leader in 2018 that the current NDP government was committed to a “concept plan” for a new hospital in Surrey “and part of that is looking for land at these astronomically high prices right now.”

“You know, British Columbians end up paying for the folly of the Liberals being such poor economic managers of properties.”

In 2012, NDP Finance Critic Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley, likened the Liberal government’s plan to sell off the 15 acres to selling the family’s gold jewelry to buy groceries.

The land, at the corner of Highway 10 and 152nd Street, had been earmarked for health care development under the Surrey Official Community Plan’s South Newton Neighbourhood Concept Plan. Ralston noted the site was at the geographic heart of Surrey.

It was a project dear to Delta-North NDP MLA Guy Gentner, the public health critic for the NDP at the time, who served as director of the North Delta Public Hospital Society before being elected. In 1990 the society had collected 4,000 signatures from people who wanted a new hospital built in North Delta. The Panorama property was later recognized as an ideal site.

But then-Liberal finance minister Kevin Falcon, MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale, said at the time it was surplus land that was costing taxpayers money.

Falcon noted that in the time since that land had been earmarked for health care purposes Surrey Memorial Hospital had undergone expansion with an improved emergency ward to open, as well as an eight-storey critical care tower in 2014 – not to mention the hospital’s satellite Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre on 140th Street in Whalley.

Indeed, in March 2011 then-Liberal premier Christy Clark launched the long-awaited $512-million Surrey Memorial Hospital expansion the government had announced three years prior.

An interesting historical footnote – in 2005 then-Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum had promised to kick in $50 million of city money for a new hospital if he and his Surrey Electors Team were re-elected with a majority during the civic elections of that November.

His promise drew fire from then-Independent Councillor Dianne Watts, who ended up successfully challenging McCallum for the mayor’s chair.

“He’s buying votes, pure and simple,” Watts said at the time.

“It’s 18 days from an election, but the situation at Surrey Memorial Hospital – the overcrowding – has existed for years. Where was he for the past nine years?”

McCallum had made the announcement at a press conference held on the famous piece of provincial land at 152nd Street and Highway 10 in Panorama, where he wanted to see an ambulatory-care hospital built.

McCallum said at the time he’d been talking about the need for another hospital in Surrey for years. “I was on the Peace Arch Hospital board, I think I was the chair, when we bought that land in Panorama. I have always been pushing to get a new hospital built in Surrey,” he said in 2005.

He said the money would come from the sale of industrial land in Campbell Heights.

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Mayor Doug McCallum thanks the government for bringing a new hospital to Surrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

Map with the location for the new Surrey hospital in Cloverdale. (Handout)

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