The Provincial Government finally broke ground on the long-awaited Cloverdale hospital Sept. 12.
B.C. premier David Eby, Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Mike Starchuk, and many other dignitaries from both the municipal and provincial governments, along with representatives from the Katzie, Kwantlen, and Semiahmoo First Nations, were on hand for the announcements.
Starchuk said he could hardly “curb his enthusiasm” now that the project was officially underway.
“I’m so happy,” Starchuk told the Cloverdale Reporter. “My enthusiasm’s off the charts. I am vibrating. This is the best announcement of all time. What it means is the healthcare importance of the region is finally being recognized.”
He said the new hospital is a boon for Cloverdale and the surrounding communities.
“Healthcare is finally at your front door,” Starchuk said. “When you think about how far you have to go right now to get healthcare—whether SMH, Peace Arch, or Langley, or Delta—finally there’s a hospital that’s coming to Cloverdale.”
He said the cancer clinic attached to the new hospital is also of vital importance.
“It’ll have diagnostic tools like nobody’s ever seen before,” noted Starchuk. “There’s only one other place in North America that has that and you’d have to go to New York to find it.”
He said Surreyites will no longer have to make long trips to Vancouver or Abbotsford as the Cloverdale cancer centre will fill the need for local appointments.
“We are breaking ground on a beautiful new hospital for Surrey and the Fraser Health region,” Eby said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“Surrey has been experiencing tremendous growth and people are struggling to get the health services they need while health-care workers are burning out,” he added. “We’re taking urgent action while carefully planning for the future. As we break ground on the new, state-of-the-art Surrey hospital and cancer centre, work continues on immediate actions to improve health services in the region, so everyone gets the timely, high-quality health care they need.”
The Cloverdale hospital will add 168 more beds, which includes both medical and surgical beds and the new hospital will also have high acuity beds and medical oncology beds. There will also be an emergency department, the second for Surrey after SMH.
“I’m so excited that I haven’t slept since I got the invitation to be here,” said Scott Wheatley, the executive director of the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce. “It’s great news for the city of Surrey and the community of Cloverdale.”
Wheatley said he expects a tonne of development to occur both around the hospital site and around Cloverdale.
“It’s going to mean more offices and more residential housing and more people moving to the area,” he added. “There’s going to be an enormous input of life into the area.”
Surrey city councillor Doug Elford said the news was “fantastic” and something the city and Cloverdale needed for a long time.
“People are crying out for medical facilities,” Elford said. “This is very positive for the city of Surrey. There was a lot of doubters out there, but it’s just great to see were moving forward with this.”
The hospital was originally expected to cost $1.66 billion, but that number has ballooned to $2.88 billion. The completion date for the project has been pushed back to 2029, from 2027, and it’s expect to open to the pubic in 2030. Eby cited inflation and delays in companies’ abilities to get workers and materials to complete projects as factors in both.
Eby also announced a new medical school would be built in Surrey in the future, but offered no timeline on that.