Proposed Foothills Hospital parkade on Parkdale Escarpment

Proposed parkade location
Proposed parkade location, on the south slope of FMC.

On March 12, the Parkdale Community Association Planning and Development Committee met with two representatives from Alberta Health Services (AHS) Capital Management division. The AHS representatives provided the committee with a presentation regarding a new 1200 stall
parkade planned for the Foothills Medical Centre (FMC), built on the escarpment overlooking

The planning and development committee vehemently opposes this development. There are a number of significant questions in regard to the choices made by AHS and their commensurate impact on patients, FMC staff and the residents of Parkdale.

The P&D Committee has communicated the following concerns to AHS:

  1. The escarpment is important to Parkdale community members. AHS plans show that the maximum distance from the edge of the parkade to the first Parkdale home is only 39 metres. The reduction in available space on the escarpment dramatically reduces the recreational area presently available for Parkdale residents. Space for children to toboggan, runners to train and wildlife watching will be severely restricted. Immediate neighbours would be negatively impacted by visual pollution from security lights & headlights, noise from traffic and vehicle emissions, while the rest of Parkdale would have a massive concrete edifice hanging over the community.
  2. The natural escarpment is an important gathering place for patients and their families. Anyone who has spent time inside a hospital knows that the necessities of medical care results in interiors designed without regard to natural beauty. The escarpment is the most significant natural area near the FMC. Staff, patients and their families congregate along the escarpment at one of the several memorial benches in pleasant weather, as the area, is the only outdoor public space at the FMC with sunlight. The escarpment pathways are accessible to wheelchairs and IV poles and are quiet enough to have a conversation, and offer a welcome escape from the chaos of the hospital environment.
  3. The FMC site should be developed according to a sound master plan. AHS plans to build a cancer center at the corner of 16th ave and 29th street which could arguably be a more suitable place for a parkade. Building a cancer centre overlooking the Trans-Canada highway and a parkade overlooking the river does not take into consideration the long-term needs of the community or patients.

AHS planners acknowledged that they haven’t planned the FMC site comprehensively and assert that they lack the funds to construct this project in a respectful way. They are concerned about triaging imminent problems in the least expensive way, rather than planning for the longer term or the greater public good. They are consistently finding themselves ‘landlocked’ as they continue to build parkades above ground, then have no place to build the actual buildings necessary to deliver care.

If you believe that the citizens of Parkdale, the patients and staff of FMC and the community of Calgary deserves better, the Parkdale Community Association asks you to do what you can to make a difference in the future development of the FMC site. Please write a letter outlining your concerns addressed to the health minister Fred Horne, and include the following:

  • How this natural space impacts you personally.
  • How an open parkade in this location would impact you personally.
  • Include suggestions for improved planning.

Fred Horne
Minister of Health

Please also CC your message to Bill Biccum at

Fred Horne is not the only person who needs to receive your message. The Parkdale Community Association will ensure all letters, in hard copy form, are brought to meetings with officials and forwarded to appropriate people throughout the continued development process.

Thank you for your time and interest. Together we can help keep Parkdale one of Calgary’s
most desirable communities. For more information and the latest updates, connect with us
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5 thoughts on “Proposed Foothills Hospital parkade on Parkdale Escarpment

  1. We have been residents of Parkdale for over 7 years now and have watched the community grow and thrive with new families moving in all the time. Our community has many families, mine included, who enjoy the escarpment in all the seasons. We walk our dog, we go tobogganing, we ride our bikes and generally enjoy the fact that the greenspace is there in our very own inner city “back yard”. A previous comment mentioned that Tom Baker patients use the benches to enjoy the view and watch the children…I know this to be true as my husband spent much of last summer and early fall as a bone marrow transplant patient in the Tom Baker. The greenspace and benches proved to be a God send for us as not only did it give him a space to reflect and enjoy the view, it allowed my 6 year old daughter to visit with her father. You see, small children are not allowed on the patient floors. This way, she could visit with her father almost every day after school. This was huge in his recovery as I am sure it means so much to other patients as well. The escarpment is a view of life: sun shining, snow falling, children playing, birds singing, dogs barking, etc. To replace it with a concrete structure just doesn’t make sense when there is a perfectly acceptable area where the new Tom Baker will be. ( 16th and 29th )

  2. Having been a Parkdale resident for only 2 years, I can tell you that the escarpment is a beautiful place for both the Foothills Medical Centre and the Community of Parkdale. Parkdale endures a tremendous amount of urban pollution right now by being situated between four of the busiest roads in Calgary let alone the hospital and University traffic along 29th street. Who hasn;t been awoken by the screaming of Ambulance sirens or STARS coming into Foothills? It seems reasonable that we should have a small green buffer that is the escarpment of today.

    Now we learn very late in the planning cycle that the FMC planners are missing a golden opportunity to leave the escarpment buffer “green” and put the parkade up where it should be – on the corner of 16th Ave and 29th St. Another alternative would be to put the parkade beside the FMC Woman’s tower (old nurse’s residence) on the East Side. The least desirable placement would be on the very top of the escarpment – north of the proposed site.

    I notice there isn’t a link to the AHS site on our community website – here it is -

    As Joni Mitchell sang her lament – “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot!”

    Let AHS know as well Health Minister Fred Horne. It appears our Alderman is totally silent on this matter or at least to the community at large. Our MLA is a opposition member and will have NO voice about it. Talk about this important matter with your neighbors and please get involved.

  3. The escarpment is used by many families throughout the year. In the winter there are about 50 kids on any given afternoon tobogganing – often their parents join in. People walk their dogs, kids bike in the summer. Tom Baker patients often use the benches to enjoy the view and watch the children. The area has wildlife too – other than the rabbits, there are quails, deer and a variety of birds. – There are also other good reasons not to build in this spot: the parking should go where the new Tom Baker will be – there is lots of room to integrate parking in a spot (16th and 29th) where little residential development is located at present.

  4. I suggest that this will not be a win for Parkdale. This is open space for a reason, the community wanted it that way now the hospital , thinks they can come in and take away this space makes it different than other communities. Please rethink this sincerely. Jane Kornelson

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