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
Parkdale.

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
health.minister@gov.ab.ca

Please also CC your message to Bill Biccum at bill.biccum@parkdalecommunity.com.

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
online at parkdalecommunity.com.

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