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Alberta budget 2021: What’s in it for Calgary?

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WATCH: Finance Minister Travis Toews outlined the budget as a path to recovery, hoping capital projects will be enough to restimulate the economy. But what specifically is in it for Calgary? Christa Dao reports – Feb 25, 2021

With Alberta facing ongoing fiscal pressures and uncertainties because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget delivered by Finance Minister Travis Toews on Thursday still made room for plenty of spending, particularly in 2021-22, as the government tries to stimulate the economy and spur its recovery.

Here’s a look at some of the spending announcements related to Calgary.

LRT

The Alberta government revealed it will provide $660 million in funding for LRT projects in the province’s two largest cities over the next three years. The City of Calgary’s LRT projects will receive $25 million in 2021-22 and then $50 million in 2022-23 and $291 million in 2023-24.

Read more: Alberta budget 2021 promises more help for COVID-19 with $18B deficit

Court of Appeal building in Calgary

With its lease expiring at the TransCanada Tower in 2023-24, the Court of Appeal in Calgary needs a new home. One of the possible sites being considered is the Calgary Courts Centre. The province pledged $57.3 million for finalizing a new Court of Appeal building spread over the next three years.

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Post-secondary facilities

Thursday’s budget saw the province commit $50 million in new funding for a project aimed at repurposing existing facilities at Mount Royal University. Money has also been allocated to the MacKimmie Complex at the University of Calgary.

Read more: Alberta budget 2021: What’s in it for Edmonton?

Health

The Alberta government plans to invest an additional $1.5 billion over three years in the Calgary Cancer Centre and have it completed by 2023.

The government will invest $23 million over the next three years into renovations at the Foothills Medical Centre’s neonatal intensive care unit. The project will grow capacity from 39 to 58 NICU beds and receive “significant financial support from the Calgary Health Foundation.”

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The government said a Rockyview General Hospital project will receive over $59 million as part of a $74-million pledge to relocate and redevelop the intensive care unit, coronary care unit and gastrointestinal clinic. The Calgary Health Foundation is providing financial support for this project as well.

“Budget 2021 includes over $18 million for a new cyclotron and radiopharmacy facility in Calgary,” the government’s capital spending plan reads.

Tourism

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit the province, the Alberta government tried to help the province’s tourism industry by providing an abatement to the tourism levy until April 2021 and provided “destination
marketing organizations” in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Jasper and Canmore with $8 million. The budget details a plan to see Travel Alberta evolve into a “destination marketing organization, including destination and product development, research, and visitor services in addition to promotion. The province also plans to create a senior representative for tourism investment and a parks liaison within the Invest Alberta Corporation.

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Read more: Highlights from Alberta budget 2021

Calgary Zoo

The government’s budget sets aside $15.5 million over the next three years to go towards the Calgary Zoo’s Canadian Wilds Redevelopment project. The initiative involves major upgrades to the facility and an expansion of the River Otter habitat along with habitats for Arctic animals new to the Calgary Zoo. With the improvements, the zoo expects to attract about 300,000 more visitors each year.

Cultural facilities

Alberta is planning to spend $251 million over the next three years on sports, recreation, cultural and community facilities. In Calgary, part of that money outlined in the budget is specifically targeted towards Vivo for Healthier Generations and the Glenbow Museum.

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Alberta budget 2021: no new taxes or tax increases – Feb 25, 2021

Schools

Among the new stimulus and recovery projects in the Alberta government’s 2021 capital plan are 14 school projects. It is not yet known where in the province those schools will be built.

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“The details of the 14 projects will be shared with school boards and the public in March,” a government spokesperson said.

The government is also spending $911 million on Edmonton and Calgary’s ring roads.

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