Alberta Budget 2017: What’s in it for Edmonton? New hospital, 4 schools
Finance Minister Joe Ceci tabled the 2017 Alberta Budget Thursday afternoon, which comes with a $10.3B deficit.
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said some of Edmonton’s interests are being taken care of in the budget.
“Generally it’s a good budget and stable employment for Edmontonians who work in delivery of healthcare and education is also good. It’s been part of the economic resiliency for our city so overall the budget will be positive for the city of Edmonton,” said Iveson.
One tax that is going up is the education portion of property taxes. Edmonton’s share is a six per cent increase, but Iveson believes not every home owner will be charged that.
“We’ll have to run some numbers and see how assessment growth offsets that, so it may not look like six per cent against whatever the tax base has grown by over that time.”
So what’s in it for Edmonton and the surrounding areas? Here’s a snapshot.
The 2017 budget includes $500 million in funding for 24 new and modernized schools across the province, five in Calgary and four in Edmonton. There are also funds for design work on a fifth school in Edmonton.
The government said full details will be released in the coming weeks but added these projects are on top of the 200 already underway in Alberta.
New Edmonton hospital
The 2017 budget allocates $400 million over four years towards planning and implementation of a new hospital in Edmonton, the first in a generation.
A site for the new hospital has not been set.
Upgrades to Misericordia Hospital
Upwards of $65 million has been earmarked over the next four years for modernization and emergency room renovations at the Misericordia Community Hospital.
Royal Alexandra Hospital
$155 million in funding over the next four years for the Royal Alexandra Hospital will go towards constructing a new building for a Child and Adolescent Mental Health facility.
That’s a far cry from the $1 billion the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation said it needs for phase one of its proposed development, which would see construction of a new 800-bed hospital tower.
The Royal Alexandra Hospital was designed in the 1950s and built in the early 1960s. While it has seen upgrades over the years, the RAHF said the hospital does not meet today’s standards of care.
Long-term care beds
The Norwood Capital Care facility in north Edmonton will receive $364 million over the next four years for new and renovated space for 350 long-term care beds.
University of Alberta Dentistry Pharmacy renewal
The budget has allocated $149 million over four years to restore the University of Alberta’s Dentistry Pharmacy building, which has been deemed a provincial heritage site.
Widening Fort Saskatchewan bridge
While a dollar figure has not been announced, the government will twin the Highway 15 bridge near Fort Saskatchewan.
This year, municipalities will receive just over $1.2 billion under the Municipal Sustainability Initiative with $260 million going to Edmonton.
50 Street rail crossing
The government will eliminate the at-grade rail crossing at 50 Street in Edmonton. No dollar figure for the project was released.
Stanley A. Milner Library
The Stanley A. Milner Library will receive $2 million over the next four years.
Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin
The Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin will receive $40 million over the next four years.
Post-secondary tuition freeze
For the third year in a row, the government said it will freeze tuition for post-secondary students across Alberta.
On Wednesday, the province announced it will spend $5.6 million to plan for 14 affordable housing projects throughout the province. Budget 2017 stated Edmonton’s Londonderry neighbourhood will receive 220 affordable, mixed-income units.
In Leduc, 64 units of community housing will be built. In Sherwood Park, 144 seniors lodge units will be built.
Alberta’s Provincial Operations Centre
The hub for emergency management during the Fort McMurray wildfire last May, the Provincial Operations Centre in Edmonton will receive $125 million for modernization. The centre is responsible for coordinating the initial response and maintaining support for responses to natural and human-caused disaster.
Budget 2017 outlines $19.1 million for the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team.
Unfunded Edmonton projects
The southwest leg of Anthony Henday Drive will not receive funding in Budget 2017. There have been previous calls to widen the stretch of roadway in Edmonton’s booming southwest.
READ MORE: ‘It’s getting close to full’: Southwest leg of Anthony Henday Drive reaching capacity
‘It’s getting close to full’: Southwest leg of Anthony Henday Drive reaching capacity
The Winspear Centre was looking for $13 million to help fund a $53-million project for training, education and programming spaces. That money did not materialize.
Boyle Street Community Services wanted funding for redevelopment and a community wellness centre, which was not included in Ceci’s budget.
What’s in it for Red Deer?
For nearly three years, Red Deer’s traffic court – which serviced all of central Alberta – has been operating out of a hotel. To alleviate those pressures, the government said it will begin construction on a new courthouse this year. No dollar figure for the project was released.
One of the biggest misses for Red Deer was funding for a new hospital. Alberta Health Services has said it needs 96 more impatient beds, 18 more beds in the emergency department and three more operating rooms.
What’s in it for Fort McMurray?
After years of on-again, off-again funding promises, the Willow Square long-term care facility in Fort McMurray is back on track and will receive $43 million over the next three years.
To see what’s in the budget for Calgary and Lethbridge, click here.