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B.C. Premier David Eby at an announcement for a new hospital in Surrey B.C., on Sept. 12.ETHAN CAIRNS/The Canadian Press

A long-awaited and often promised second hospital for the City of Surrey took a step closer toward reality Tuesday with Premier David Eby announcing the completion of construction of the new facility by 2029.

The start of construction on the new $2.88 billion hospital and cancer treatment centre is an anticipated and needed health-care expansion in one of British Columbia’s fastest growing communities, he said at a news conference.

Eby acknowledged the concerns of local physicians and residents who staged a rally last week over concerns about the region’s health-care services and needs, saying he met with one of the protest organizers before the hospital announcement.

He said he agreed with the physicians and residents who said Surrey’s heath care needs have not been treated fairly, largely due to the area’s population growth, but the new hospital represents a positive change.

“We know that those issues are particularly true and particularly acute here in Surrey,” said Eby. “The health-care workers who are holding the front line at hospitals, the family doctors supporting people we’re asking them to make huge sacrifices and they are under unprecedented strain.”

He said labour shortages, supply chain issues and rising costs have increased the project’s cost from $1.7 billion to $2.88 billion and extended the completion date to 2029 from 2027.

“This will be the largest capital investment south of the Fraser (River) in our province’s history,” Eby said. “It will add a second emergency room in the city of Surrey, a surgical imaging department. It will have the latest in health-care technology. It will be a cancer centre and a treatment centre.”

The second hospital in Surrey will bring 168 more beds, access to specialists through virtual technologies and another emergency department with 55 treatment spaces, he said.

Eby said the cancer centre will include a 50-room oncology care unit and 54 chemotherapy treatment spaces.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the second hospital in Surrey and the cancer centre are vital to meet the needs of the growing city and region.

“The second hospital here in Surrey is not only going to transform the delivery of health care for people living in the region,” he said. “It’s going to change lives. People in Surrey have been advocating for increased access to care, and I agree with them.”

Earlier this summer, the New Democrat government promised to expand the city’s Surrey Memorial Hospital.

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