The injection of capital for Maskwa Medical Centre received two jabs in the proverbial arm.
The City of Grande Prairie approved $50,000 funding from the Economic Development Operating Budget at a special council meeting last Wednesday, while the County of Grande Prairie OK’d $25,000 the day before.
Maskwa received the funding, enabling them to build a sustainable business plan for the province in constructing a diagnostic centre in Grande Prairie.
“Council approved the funding in the amount of $50,000 from the Economic Development Operating Budget for the Maskwa Medical Centre business case,” interim Mayor Jackie Clayton said, “When (organizers) provided the background information, council was very excited and are looking forward to receiving the business case back and are optimistic that it will provide and enhance the quality of life of residents in the region with this proposed facility.
“Originally, the motion was to sent to the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) for review and consideration. Their bucket of money was basically intended for COVID-19 recovery initiative items, and the EDAC supported the intent of this and recommended council support to help fund the business case. They just didn’t see it fitting the criteria of the COVID recovery dollars.”
“I believe that council saw the merit in what was happening,” County of Grande Prairie Reeve Leanne Beaupre added, “As Ms. (Rhonda) Side had mentioned, this is once in a few years, maybe once in a decade (opportunity) to have some sort of diagnostic clinic in our back yard that would serve the whole northwest region and beyond.”
Side is a Maskwa delegate who presented the proposal to council last week.
Beaupre said the medical centre would be an asset.
“As the conversation evolved (last) Tuesday, it recognized that there are specialists in other parts of the province, but the diagnosticians that we have here are overwhelmed by the case numbers,” Beaupre said. “Following the Mayo Clinic and having their support, they have 100 years of experience behind them, and this is going to be phenomenal for our area.”
The Mayo Clinic is a Rochester, Minn. based facility specializing in patient diagnosis.
Back to the table
Both the City of Grande Prairie and County of Grande Prairie requested the Minister of Municipal Affairs extension for the city and county to finalize the Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks (ICF) by May 13.
“(The request) is in support of the county also passing a motion requesting an extension,” Clayton said. “Both parties are looking forward to an opportunity for a bit more time to have more discussions to come to an ICF agreement.”
“I am really optimistic that the discussions that we have had up to now, just recently, that we will find a way to come to an agreement, but we are asking the Minister of Municipal Affairs to give us up to a two-month extension so we can make sure that we exhaust all of our options to find a solution that is made here,locally, between the two municipalities,” Beaupre added.
ICF is part of the updated Municipal Government Act (MGA), requiring municipalities who share a border to cooperate so services can be provided to residents in a cost-effective manner.
Talks had broken off, but in the past month or so, both sides returned to the table, believing local decisions should be made locally.