David Eby, the minister of housing, made a stop in Cloverdale to support Pauline Greaves in her bid to win the upcoming Surrey South by-election.
Greaves and Eby hosted a press conference at Clayton’s McIntyre Park Aug. 29 and the focus was on the new Cloverdale hospital.
“For too long, the people of Surrey and Cloverdale have been waiting for a second hospital,” Greaves said.
Greaves added the reason she’s running in the by-election is to “keep the Cloverdale hospital moving forward.”
Greaves introduced Eby and he also spoke about the hospital.
“People in this community shouldn’t have to drive to Surrey Memorial or to Langley to get the health care they need, and that’s why I’ll make sure we get this hospital built in Cloverdale,” Eby said.
“We can’t let Kevin Falcon stop the progress the BC NDP government is making for Surrey.”
Eby was responding to comments Falcon, the leader of the B.C. Liberals, made earlier in the year in which Falcon called the proposed hospital site, next to Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), “not a great location” and that, if elected, Falcon “would want to take a hard look at where it’s located.” Falcon has also said if shovels were in the ground, he would not cancel the project.
After the press conference, Greaves told the Cloverdale Reporter her campaign is going well and that she’s focussing on what is important to the residents of Surrey South. She cited three key issues: the construction of the Cloverdale hospital, the completion of the Massey Tunnel, and the extension of the Skytrain.
“(Clayton residents) will have a hospital right on their doorstep,” said Greaves. “They don’t have to travel out of their riding to access health care.”
When asked about what she’d do concerning the related traffic problems that will come with a new hospital just off Highway 10, such as putting in a Cloverdale bypass, she said “that’s a question for the minister (of transportation).”
“The government is working on infrastructure improvements, such as the Highway 99 Surrey interchange, so all of those things will be considered in terms of general access to services.”
Greaves added she’d ensure “ease of access” for local residents getting to and from the hospital with a “variety of different transposition methods.” She did not say what those transportation methods were.
In terms of the transportation problems to Campbell Heights, Greaves said she’d consider all possibilities.
“We’d have to talk to the minister of transportation,” she said. “But, in terms of what is and should be available in the community, all transportation options will be looked at.”
Elenore Sturko, the B.C. Liberal candidate for Surrey South, reached out to the Cloverdale Reporter to say the B.C. Liberals will not cancel a second Surrey hospital.
“We’re committed to building a second hospital for Surrey and we’re committed to keeping it in Cloverdale,” said Sturko. “But what we want is for that hospital to be a full-service hospital that provides services that we believe the community needs now.”
Sturko said the Cloverdale hospital needs to have a maternity ward, more than 168 beds, and should include an ICU. She said Surrey Memorial’s maternity ward has a capacity for 3,800 births in a year and that the hospital has already delivered 5,000 babies in 2022 with four months left in the year.
“We need a maternity ward to be built now.”
Sturko said she’s advocating for things residents are telling her they want.
“Putting in a health centre that isn’t going to meet the needs of the community, that’s just not really planning well for the future,” she said. “That’s not what the residents here deserve, they deserve a full-service hospital that has the things that we need now and in the future.”
In a press release, the NDP said construction will start in 2023 on the $1.7 billion Cloverdale hospital project. The site is opposite KPU in Cloverdale.
The NDP said it’s the “largest provincial investment in a hospital in BC history.” The hospital is set to have 168 beds, a 55-space ER, operating rooms, MRIs, CT scanners, and a regional cancer centre.
The Surrey South by-election will be held Sept. 10.