Province blasted for scrapping Sherwood Park hospital

A Strathcona County councillor is blasting the Alberta goverment for scrapping the second phase of the community hospital.
A rendering of the Strathcona Community Hospital showing both phases. The second phase was abandoned in Thursday's provincial budget. (Alberta Health Services)

A Strathcona County councillor is blasting the Alberta government for scrapping the second phase of the community hospital.

"Everything up to yesterday's budget indicated the province would fulfill its commitment to build Phase 2 of the hospital and clearly this has become the greatest broken promise in our community's history," said Coun. Jason Gariepy.

The Tories made the promise to expand the facility to a full service, emergency facility in Sherwood Park to get re-elected, he said.

"Now that the province is in difficult financial times, they're yanking the hospital away from us," he said. "That's a breach of trust."

As recently as two weeks ago Redford said her government was committed to the hospital

The community has grown cynical over the $162.7 million hospital after a number of false starts and broken promises, Gariepy said.

"Now people aren't even talking about Phase 2, they're wondering if there's going to be staffing, sufficient staffing, for Phase 1 which is basically a glorified walk-in clinic."

The hospital has a history of false starts since planning began seven years ago.

Originally scheduled to open its doors in 2009, construction was delayed and eventually split into two phases with the first phase to be completed last year. 

Last month doctors complained the still unopened hospital has been downgraded to an urgent care centre without overnight stays.