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Strathcona hospital bait-and-switch reaffirms need for transparency

EDMONTON, AB (April 17, 2014): The PC government should immediately publish a full, public and prioritized infrastructure list to avoid the appearance of political decision making in infrastructure, following its decision to hold off on building Phase 2 of the Strathcona Community Hospital Wildrose Infrastructure Critic Drew Barnes said today.

Since 2010, the PCs have promised Strathcona County a full-service hospital. Recently, however, the PCs have pulled the rug out and announced they would no longer be building Phase 2 of the facility due to a lack of money and need, downgrading the existing building from a hospital to an urgent-care facility. Barnes called the decision confusing, given they’ve promised the project for years. He characterized the move as a “bait-and-switch.” “Either this facility was needed or it wasn’t, but unfortunately, under the current system, very few communities ever get a look inside the PCs’ decision-making processes,” Barnes said. “This opens infrastructure spending up to the kind of politicized, knee-jerk actions we’re seeing take place all across the province. A full, public and prioritized infrastructure list would solve this problem.” Barnes said residents of Strathcona County have been patiently waiting for the completion of the Strathcona Community Hospital. He said the PCs need to start being honest with Albertans. “The people were promised a fully-operational hospital facility with beds, overnight care and operating rooms, but they won’t be getting that,” Barnes said. “I’m calling on the PCs to publish a full, public and prioritized infrastructure list, to put an end to these kinds of guessing games.”