Fo­cus on fund­ing for new hos­pi­tal

Lead­er­ship can­di­dates agree new hos­pi­tal needed in Prince Al­bert, but not all ready to pro­vide full fund­ing

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - COMING UP - JASON KERR @ker­r_­jas • jason.kerr@pa­her­ald.sk.ca

Mayor Greg Dionne says Premier Brad Wall promised to build a new hos­pi­tal in Prince Al­bert with pro­vin­cial fund­ing, and he wants to make sure the next premier keeps that prom­ise.

Dionne has met with three lead­er­ship can­di­dates since Wall an­nounced in Au­gust that he would be step­ping down, and the con­struc­tion of a new hos­pi­tal has come up at ev­ery meet­ing.

Although he re­mains con­vinced that the is­sue won’t get shoved to the back burner, Dionne said he wanted to make sure can­di­dates fol­lowed through on Wall’s prom­ise.

“It’s like an elec­tion,” he said. “They’re say­ing it to­day. Hope­fully they agree with it to­mor­row.”

A big part of the dis­cus­sion re­volves around whether the new hos­pi­tal is lo­cal or re­gional in na­ture. All lo­cal hos­pi­tals are built with 80 per cent fund­ing from the pro­vin­cial govern­ment and 20 per cent from the city.

Dionne said Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal should be clas­si­fied as re­gional, since it serves so many res­i­dents from the north. If the clas­si­fi­ca­tion was changed, the prov­ince would agree to fund 100 per cent of the con­struc­tion costs.

Dionne raised the is­sue dur­ing Ken Chevel­day­off’s stop in Prince Al­bert on Mon­day. Chevel­day­off in­vited the mayor to the meet­ing with the un­der­stand­ing that it was a non-par­ti­san ap­pear­ance.

Af­ter­wards, Chevel­day­off told the Daily Her­ald he was con­vinced Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal was serv­ing more than just Prince Al­bert, but wanted the new prov­ince-wide health author­ity to take a look at the project be­fore go­ing any fur­ther.

How­ever, there was one can­di­date to come out in favour of Wall’s plan: Ros­th­ern-Shell­brook MLA Scott Moe.

In an in­ter­view on Tues­day, Moe reaf­firmed his com­mit­ment to fully fund­ing a new hos­pi­tal in the city, but only af­ter the govern­ment fin­ished its three-year plan to bal­ance the books.

“When our fi­nances per­mit, we would put this through the process of trea­sury board and cau­cus and cab­i­net de­ci­sion process, to build that hos­pi­tal in Prince Al­bert, and to fund it 100 per cent with pro­vin­cial govern­ment fund­ing,” he said.

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