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No money in Alberta budget 2024 for new south Edmonton hospital

A new hospital in south Edmonton has been scrapped in the province’s 2024 budget, released Thursday.

The new hospital was announced in 2017. Work began in 2021 and earlier this week, Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said the project was on pause. However, the 2024 budget shows no funding for the hospital, which was to be located along 127th Street south of Ellerslie Road Southwest.

“Very disappointed that we did not get moving forward on the south hospital,” Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said Thursday. “It’s a much-needed hospital.”

Alberta’s 2021 budget laid out $393 million for the project. About $49 million was allocated in budget 2022. Budget 2023 laid out $34 million for the hospital, with an additional $300 million in each of the following two years.

Construction was meant to be complete by 2030.

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The province estimates the project would now cost $5 billion. That was deemed to be too much by the government, so the money is being spread out across other health projects.

“There’s still a line item in the capital plan, it’s been reprofiled but also they’ve committed to the standalone (Stollery Children’s Hospital) and a new committee’s been struck to make sure that the capital, in all areas of the province when it comes to health, are being deployed properly,” Finance Minister Nate Horner told Global News Thursday evening.

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“Definitely was issues with the escalating cost of the proposed hospital. It was at $5 billion for a 400-bed hospital. So that would be the most expensive hospital in North America.”

Click to play video: 'Alberta finance minister delves into 2024 budget'

Alberta finance minister delves into 2024 budget

The executive director of Friends of Medicare said a new hospital has not been built in Edmonton for over 35 years and the province should be building hospitals now to keep up with population growth.

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“We are hundreds of beds behind in the Edmonton region already, that’s from AHS’ (Alberta Health Services) own documents. To stop a hospital they had already put money into is senseless to see that kind of pause,” Chris Gallaway said.

“You can’t brag about people coming to Edmonton, coming to Alberta, and then not build the services and infrastructure they need to live here.”

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley said budget 2024 leaves Albertans worse off than they already were.

“What the UCP delivered today amounts to massive cuts that leave Albertans behind. Instead of hiring more nurses and front-line health-care workers or building hospitals, Danielle Smith chose to fund private surgeries.”

The last new adult hospital opened in Edmonton was the Grey Nuns Community Hospital in 1988.

Overall spending for health is up 4.4 per cent. But the province said population growth plus inflation this coming year is expected to reach 6.2 per cent.

The budget includes $20 million for plans for a new stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton but no timeline for the project has been provided.

Full Global News coverage of the 2024 Alberta budget can be found on our dedicated budget webpage.

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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