Alberta's health minister says the construction of a hospital east of Edmonton is just the latest example of medical projects being put on hold because of the economic downturn.
The construction of the $57-million Strathcona Community Hospital in Sherwood Park was slated to be finished by late 2009, but Alberta Health Services announced Friday it will be done in two phases. The first phase won't be completed until 2012.
For now, the site sits empty.
Minister Gene Zwozdesky blames the delay on a lack of provincial cash flow.
"There was an initial hope that the entire thing could be done in one fell swoop. However, due to the economic recession… we had to slow down some projects, others were delayed. Some had to be phased in, done in two, three parts," Zwozdesky told CBC News.
"So the good news is, this one's going ahead. And we're quite aggressive with the planning so far."
Zwozdesky said the hospital will be operational by 2013.
The Sherwood Park hospital, however, isn't alone in delays. Zwozdesky said there are 1,000 projects across Alberta totalling approximately $5 billion.
A number of them were slowed down, some of them had to be redirected and some were downsized all because of the economic recession, he said.