With the 2023 provincial budget having been released yesterday (February 28), and very minimal funding being announced for Airdrie's health care, the Airdrie Health Foundation is very disappointed.
Budget 2023 provides $3.1 billion in capital funding over three years to further build up Alberta’s valuable healthcare infrastructure. Additionally, $18 million over three years will go towards planning the North Calgary/Airdrie Regional Health Centre, stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, expansion of the Strathcona Community Hospital, and new or upgraded facilities in Bassano, Cardston and Whitecourt.
Of that $18 million, $3 million has been allocated for the planning three years of the North Calgary/Airdrie Regional Health Centre. And to say the least, the Airdrie Health Foundation is disappointed in the lack of announcements.
"We've had many conversations and many meetings, we've toured the facility with the health minister, as well as our MLAs," explained Michelle Bates, Director of the Airdrie Health Foundation. "We thought, and we were hoping to get more since we've shown the level of urgency. But apparently, that wasn't shown in the budget yesterday."
With that being said, they are happy to see the funding they received, the foundation just feels what the funding is for has already been done.
"We had hoped that there would be a quicker timeline on a new health facility. In previous conversations, we've tried to share the feedback from the community that people are asking for a larger health facility to serve the needs in Airdrie. We were really hoping for money to actually build that facility," explained Ryan Thompson Board Chair of the Airdrie Health Foundation. "We are happy to hear that they're spending money in Airdrie and the area to help analyze the issues and to help presumably look towards what needs to be built. But we have already shared our opinions on what we think that that looks like and what the types of health services that are needed in Airdrie."
When it comes to the current urgent care facility, the foundation wasn't expecting any funding for it. Talking about the North Calgary/Airdrie Regional Health Centre, Thompson mentioned they are unsure of where it will exactly be.
"We don't have any clarity on that at this point whether that means between Calgary and Airdrie, whether that means in Airdrie or whether that means in Calgary."
The Foundation does not plan to stop advocating for Airdronians and their healthcare needs; they plan to keep working hard until a solution is made and everybody is taken care of.
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