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Falling oil prices put cancer treatment centre on hold

CALGARY- As the Alberta government continues to grapple with the consequences of falling oil prices, the revenue shortfall is already putting the brakes on a planned cancer treatment centre.

On Thursday, Global News learned construction for a new Calgary cancer centre, approved by former premier Alison Redford in 2013, will be delayed indefinitely.

The specialized treatment centre was meant to relieve pressure on existing cancer treatment facilities like the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and was to be built on the southwest edge of property near Foothills Medical Centre.

On Thursday afternoon, Health Minister Stephen Mandel confirmed the project’s postponement is directly related to declining energy royalty revenues.

“You know right now, it was becoming fairly expensive given our capital budget capacity,” said Mandel. “That doesn’t change the fact that we understand there’s problems with the delivery of cancer care in Calgary. It’s a big priority for the Prentice government and myself.”

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Health Minister Stephen Mandel says plans for a new Calgary cancer centre have been put on hold indefinitely.
Health Minister Stephen Mandel says plans for a new Calgary cancer centre have been put on hold indefinitely. Global News

Work on the $1.3 billion dollar facility was supposed to get underway in 2016 and be completed by 2020. The centre was billed by the provincial government as the biggest health facility construction project in North America. The Alberta Cancer Foundation had committed to raising $200 million dollars to help fund construction.

Mandel did not offer a new timeline for the project.

A spokesperson for Minister Mandel says no formal decision about delaying the project will be made until a review of the capital budget is complete.