Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer responds to the provincial budget on Friday. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer responds to the provincial budget on Friday. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer’s mayor expects provincial funds for local hospital and shelter will come in spring budget

UCP government needs to learn more details about both projects, she says

Mayor Tara Veer said she is “disappointed” about the lack of funding for a Red Deer hospital expansion and a round-the-clock homeless shelter.

However, she added that she received assurances that our community’s need for both projects is on the provincial government’s radar after meeting with the ministers responsible.

Veer expects to see more funds for both the hospital and the shelter in the spring provincial budget. If these two projects are overlooked again, she said “the response will be different.”

In a low-key press conference Friday, Veer explained the United Conservative Party government has only held power for six months and needs to hear more details about what’s required for both projects.

With the continued lack of shelter spaces — Red Deer has the fewest per capita in the province — she said this city has seen a lot of “social disorder spill over into the parks and downtown.”

But Veer said the minister in charge indicated a need to work with the City of Red Deer to come up with a detailed business plan, including the size of the shelter that’s needed, in the next few weeks.

In the provincial budget released Thursday, Red Deer hospital was in the same pool with two other Alberta hospitals to share a total of $1 million for project planning.

In last year’s budget under the New Democrat government, the Red Deer hospital project solely received $1 million to create a business plan for an expansion that studies show has been needed for more than a decade.

Red Deer has double the death rate from heart attacks than Calgary and Edmonton because of a lack of a local catheterization laboratory. The procedure involves the insertion of a catheter into the heart for diagnostic and treatment purposes.

Veer believes this year’s planning money will be used to determine how to do a phased implementation of the hospital expansion.

“We share the concerns of the community,” about the project not getting major funding, she said.

But Veer maintained that she got the sense, through her meetings with the ministers, “there is an acute awareness of our needs” at the provincial level.

She’s pleased that the new justice centre construction project is going ahead in the city, and that Red Deer College will continue on its path to becoming a university.

There is no word yet on how many of the 50 new Crown prosecutors are slated for Red Deer, but Veer said she spoke of the city’s need for additional resources.

She also hopes the city will get some of the new provincial funding available for drug and alcohol treatment, and will benefit from the $50 million investment over the next four years in the police ALERT team that cracks down on organized crime.

Funding to municipalities is frozen for the remainder of this year, and then will decline by nine per cent in each of the next two years. Veer said the city anticipated these “austerity” cuts and planned for them by removing $1 billion in spending from its 10-year capital plan.

An unexpected reduction is the 50 per cent over two years decline in provincial grants that the province gives municipalities in place of paying property taxes on infrastructure, such as the Michener Centre.

Chief financial officer Dean Krejci said the loss will be felt, but these grants only made up about half of one per cent of city revenues.

Krejci said that the city’s administration was ordered by council to keep the municipal property tax increase for next year at 2.5 per cent or lower, and that’s still the plan.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

red deer city

Just Posted

Patrons practice on a putting green as the Whitestone Bridge looms in the distance at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx borough of New York on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Former President Donald Trump has a rich history of fighting back when he’s down and making others pay, and that’s exactly how he intends to deal with New York City over its plans to fire his company from running the city golf course. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Dump Trump? Kicking him off NYC golf course may not be easy

Trump Organization has been reeling after the Capitol riots

A photo illustration made December 14, 2012 in Montreal shows a computer in chains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Irish health system says it’s targeted in ransomware attack

Health care systems have been a target before

A woman wearing a mask talks on her phone near an exhibition depicting a rover in Mars in Beijing on Friday, May 14, 2021. China says its Mars probe and accompanying rover are to land on the red planet sometime between early Saturday morning and Wednesday Beijing time. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
China Mars rover to land between Saturday and Wednesday

Only the United States has successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians flee as Israeli artillery pounds northern Gaza

Israel called up 9,000 reservists as fighting intensifies

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

A used protective face mask is seen discarded on the ground in Vancouver, B.C. in May 2020. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Medical exception letters required for Albertans who don’t wear masks in public areas

EDMONTON — Alberta has moved to close loopholes people might use as… Continue reading

Team Canada’s head coach Troy Ryan talks with players before the start of the of the Rivalry Series at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, February 3, 2020. Ryan of Spryfield, N.S., has been named head coach of Canada’s women’s hockey team for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Troy Ryan to coach Canadian women’s hockey team in 2022 Winter Olympics

Ryan was Canada’s assistant coach from 2016 to 2019

FILE- In this April 19, 2021, file photo, people wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus wait to test for COVID-19 at a hospital in Hyderabad, India. Misinformation about the coronavirus is surging in India as the death toll from COVID-19 rises. Fueled by anguish, distrust and political polarization, the claims are further compounding India’s crisis. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A, File)
Misinformation surges amid India’s COVID-19 calamity

Distrust of Western vaccines and health care also driving misinformation

FILE - In this Friday March 6, 2020, file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry visits the Silverstone Circuit, in Towcester, England. In an episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast broadcast Thursday, May 13, 2021, Prince Harry compared his royal experience to being on “The Truman Show” and “living in a zoo.” (Peter Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Prince Harry thought about quitting royal life in his 20s

Feared his family would have to deal with the same spotlight that was on his late mother

Opinion
Mental health: Gossiping, backbiting and forming factions is unhealthy

We all know of dysfunctional organizations, which can be as troublesome as… Continue reading

Family practice physician Christina Tuomi, D.O., (right) gets Homer's first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine from Emergency Department nurse Steve Hughes (left) on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Tuomi has been the hospital's medical lead throughout the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
Alberta physicians: Vaccines are our path forward

As the AMA representatives for Alberta’s family physicians, we were immensely relieved… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Most Read