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'A monumental day': Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta agree on new surgical facility west of Edmonton

A new "culturally safe facility" offering roughly 3,000 publicly funded orthopedic surgeries will be built on First Nations land just west of Edmonton, the Alberta government and the Enoch Cree Nation announced Wednesday.

The chartered surgical centre will be open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients starting in June 2025 and will help to reduce wait times, Health Minister Adriana LaGrange promised calling it an "innovative partnership."

"Today is a significant moment in our ongoing journey to reconciliation in Alberta," added Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson.

"This…will be a testament to our commitment to working hand-in-hand."

The facility will be operated by the First Nation in partnership with Alberta Health Services and is one of the first of its kind in the country.

"This isn't tokenism, this is reconcili-action," Chief Cody Thomas said during the media announcement.

"The intent of our treaty was to share and I'm always going to stress that…This is a monumental day for us as a First Nation."

Chief Thomas said Enoch will pay for and own the building, which will include other medical facilities, at a cost of up to $50 million.

Alberta provided planning funds for the project and will staff the facility. The province currently has contracts with three other chartered operators in Edmonton which provide orthopedic surgery spaces in exchange for service fees.

AHS performed a total of 292,500 surgeries in 2022-23 and Alberta's budget includes an $80-million increase, aimed at performing 20,000 more.

In April, Enoch and Alberta agreed to build a $30-million addictions treatment centre in the First Nation, which is expected to be open as soon as next year.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson

A rendering of a new chartered surgical facility to be be built in Enoch Cree Nation. (Credit: Enoch Cree Nation)

Officials announce a new chartered surgical facility, on September 6, 2023, to be built in Enoch Cree Nation. (Amanda Anderson/CTV News Edmonton) Top Stories

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