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$810 million in budget for Red Deer hospital expansion

Funding to be spread over three years with $150 million slated for 2024-25
The 2024 provincial budget includes $810 million over three years for Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre expansion. (Advocate file photo)

The provincial government appears to have strengthened its commitment to the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre expansion.

Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce called the government’s $810-million commitment over three years one of the “standout features” of the budged delivered by Finance Minister Nate Horner on Thursday.

“This crucial investment addressed the pressing need for enhancements in health-care infrastructure, ensuring effective care for our residents,” said chamber CEO Scott Robinson.

“The $26 billion overall investment in health care this year attests to the government’s dedication to providing Albertans with access to high-quality health-care services.”

Acting mayor Vesna Higham also highlighted the hospital funding as a key piece of what the city considers a “good news budget.”

The budget estimates $150 million in hospital spending in 2024-25, $316 million in 2025-26 and $ $343 million in 2026-27.

Previously, it was said construction on the $1.8 billion expansion project is not expected to start construction until about 2027-28 and wrap by 2030-31.

The latest funding announcement appears to indicate progress is being made. In last year’s budget, $320.6 million over three years had been pencilled in for the expansion.

Health Minister and Red Deer-North MLA Adriana LaGrange said last July she was hoping to get shovels in the ground sooner than 2027.

Last month, it was revealed schematics design for the expansion is complete, and a public information session on the project is anticipated for March.

While Red Deer municipal representatives said they hoped to see construction begin within the next year, Infrastructure Minister Peter Guthrie made no commitments.