Progressing on health care, education in good shape; MLA
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Thursday, May 01, 2014 10:28 am
Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson provided an update on the status of two local issues during a Rotary Club meeting on April 29 in the Rotary Room at Genesis Place Recreation Centre.
Anderson spoke about progress in both the education and health care sectors and the importance of expanding on both in order to keep up with growth pressures in Airdrie.
With respect to health care, Anderson was optimistic about the progress being made at the provincial level by the Airdrie Health Foundation (AHF) of which he is a board member.
The AHF is a community foundation made up of local politicians, doctors and stakeholders. Through monthly meetings, they are working to improve and expand health care services in Airdrie through the attraction and retention of doctors and nurses, and lobbying for provincial funding support. Anderson reiterated points that were made by fellow AHF board member and Airdrie Alderman Allan Hunter at an April 22 meeting of council, that the foundation has gained a lot of momentum and is finally being listened to by Alberta Health Services (AHS).
“I’ve been a critic of AHS and deservedly so,” said Anderson. “They are still a long way from being an efficient deliverer for health care, but we’re starting to see some improvements.”
According to Anderson, AHS has committed to entering into a working group with AHF sometime in the near future in order to put a plan in place to address the growing health care needs in Airdrie.
“These are some high-level people at the table that can get things done,” said Anderson. “We will be putting concrete plans and milestones in place.”
Among those milestones often discussed is the need for 24-hour urgent care centre in Airdrie.
“It’s important that we secure access to 24-hour care in Airdrie,” Anderson said.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a hospital to start but we at least need 24-hour urgent care.”
On the education side of things, Anderson beamed about the growth and expansion happening all over Airdrie, including commitments made by the Province to build six new public schools in the city in the coming years.
“I’m really happy with the progress we’re making with education,” said Anderson. “We currently have six public schools that are in different stages, either announced or being built or completed.”
Heron’s Crossing School is among those projects, which was completed over a year ago but will be expanding.
Two new public schools have been announced, one each in Cooper’s Crossing and Reunion, both are a few years away from completion, according to Anderson.
“Sagewood is well on its way and of course the high school (in Chinook Winds) is on its way as well,” said Anderson.
The MLA went on to mention his contentment with seeing the completion of the recently opened Ecole Francophone d’Airdrie in Ravenswood (see story on page 13).
“The Francophone community in Airdrie is actually much larger than you might think and I know they are just ecstatic to be moving into that new building,” Anderson said, adding that the ongoing expansion in the education sector has significantly eased pressures of overcrowding in classrooms, “we can’t develop if we have overly crowded schools.”