Budget pressures force hospital parking rate increase
Alberta Health Services is raising parking rates at hospitals in a bid to cover $7 million in site maintenance over the next five years.
The rate in Edmonton is increasing from $1.75 to $2 per half hour on April 1. Staff parking is going up $15 a month to $120.
The daily maximum rate of $15 will remain the same.
This could be a sign of things to come in Thursday's budget. In 2010, the government announced five years of stable funding for the health board — three years of six per cent increases, followed by two years with jumps of 4.5 per cent.
AHS chairman Stephen Lockwood isn't expecting that level of funding to continue. He believes the board will have to cut administrative costs by ten per cent as well as freeze salaries for executives.
Opposition parties believes many services could get the axe.
"I'm expecting that we're going to see cuts to basic services including health and education," said NDP Leader Brian Mason.
"I think we're going to see layoffs of employees at a time when the province is growing and demands for those services are increasing."
Premier Alison Redford said the budget is not about cuts to services, though she said any spending increases will be modest and well below what’s required to keep up with population growth and inflation.