BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson announced his commitment Thursday (Oct. 8) to building Surrey’s second hospital in Cloverdale, which was announced by the NDP government in December 2019.
Wilkinson was at Surrey’s Healthtech Innovation Hub, with Surrey South candidate Stephanie Cadieux and Surrey-Panorama candidate Gulzar Cheema, for the announcement.
“In the event of a BC Liberal government forming, one of our highest priorities will be building the second hospital in Surrey in Cloverdale,” said Wilkinson.
This comes after BC NDP Leader John Horgan said Sept. 23 that the Liberals “sold the silverware” to balance their budget, selling what was a proposed Panorama hospital site at 5750 Panorama Drive for $3 million below its assessed value, to a former Liberal party donor.
The NDP charges that Wilkinson delayed the construction of a Surrey hospital by selling off a site acquired by an NDP government in the 1990s as a potential location for a new hospital.
Prior to the 2005 provincial election, then-Liberal premier Gordon Campbell staged a presser there, vowing to fast-track a new hospital. But it wasn’t built. In 2014, the NDP said, Wilkinson as citizens’ services minister “abandoned the promise permanently” by selling the land to developer Fairborne Lands at a $3 million discount, selling for $20.5 million despite being appraised at $23.5 million.
It was in December 2019 that Horgan was in Cloverdale to announce the hospital.
At the time, Horgan said it would be a “very fast-paced process,” adding the province’s business plan may take 12 months to put together.
“I think we’ll be through the business plan about this time next year in 2020 and then we’ll be going to tender,” Horgan said, adding shovels could break ground by the end of 2021.
The new hospital would have an emergency department, inpatient beds, operating rooms, and laboratory, diagnostic and outpatient services.
Voters go to the polls Oct. 24.
– With files from Tom Zytaruk, Malin Jordan