Construction starts on continuing care facility announced in 2017

In 2017, the NDP announced a new continuing care facility in Calgary. Last month, construction finally started. It was supposed to be built by now.

Last month, the Alberta government announced that construction had begun on a $130.5 million continuing care centre in Calgary.

According to the announcement, the construction of the Bridgeland Riverside Continuing Care Centre will employ 520 construction and construction-related workers over the next 2.5 years or so.

What the announcement forgot to mention was that the 198-unit facility was actually announced by the NDP in March 2017. In fact, the 2017 budget outlined how much money would be allocated to the project per year:

2017–2018$2 million
2018–2019$42 million
2019–2020$67 million
2020–2021$20 million
Total$131 million

Those numbers were adjusted in the 2018–2019 budget—the NDP’s last budget—extending the completion date by two years, just in time for the 2023 election:

2018–2019$10 million
2019–2020$43 million
2020–2021$40 million
2021–2022$33 million
2022–2023$5 million
Total$130 million

In the UCP’s first budget, the numbers were updated as follows:

2019–2020$3 million
2020–2021$21 million
2021–2022$30 million
2022–2023$51 million
Total$104 million

Again in the 2020–2021 budget:

2020–2021$19 million
2021–2022$40 million
2022–2023$44 million
Total$103 million

And finally in the latest budget announced at the end of last month, with a completion date extension of yet one more year:

2021–2022$41 million
2022–2023$43 million
2023–2024$31 million
Total$115 million

So, a project that was originally to be completed by the end of this month—at the latest—has had two extensions that collectively pushed back the completion date by 3 years, nearly doubling the original project timeline.

And it’s not even clear whether the government will end up paying the $130.5 million for the project that had been announced in 2017.

For example, look at the first two projections: $131 million and $130 million. The first project proposed $2 million being spent in the first year of the project. Did they spend that much that year? If so, shouldn’t the project cost be $129 million in the following budget?

Or the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 budgets: one is $104 million and the other is $103 million. The government was supposed to spend $3 million in 2019–2020, but the following year, the project costs dropped by only $1 million.

And then all of a sudden, the project jumps up $12 million in this year’s budget to $115 million. Which leaves me wondering whether we’ve spent only $15 million over the last 4 years or the final project will end up costing more.

Or did we try shaving nearly $25 million off the project price for the last two years and realize that there was no way that would be possible?

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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