Podcast hosts suggest budget misses mark for Edmonton

Podcast hosts suggest budget misses mark for Edmonton

· The Pulse

The 2024 provincial budget lacks meaningful investment in Edmonton, said the hosts of Episode 254 of Speaking Municipally.

It boils down to capital versus operations dollars, said co-host Mack Male. "Funding for schools is great. The problem is those schools don't often get constructed until years after the budget has been announced. We need to have new schools, but we also need to put staff inside them to operate them and to teach the kids that are going to go to those schools."

Male and co-host Troy Pavlek agreed that money for operations is missing from the recently released budget — and not just for schools, but also the healthcare system. Male said the $20 million budgeted for planning a standalone Stollery Children's Hospital does not fix the institution's existing problems.

"Throughout the month of February, for example, lots of the facility was closed — not because of a lack of funding for a building, but because of staff and physician vacations," he said. "The shortage of staff caused as many as three different operating rooms every weekday throughout the month to be closed, which is pretty concerning."

The two also identified a parallel problem in the province's spending on homelessness.

"Most of the funding was slated towards things like more police officers and more funding for adding shelter spaces and temporary solutions, as well as treatment," Pavlek said. Male added that the Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness got about half of the $600 million it asked for.

Hear more on this, plus the electric vehicle tax, the Katz Group's parking plea, the homeless reception centre, the Chinatown Recovery Fund, and more on the March 8 episode of Taproot's civic affairs podcast.

Photo: Alberta's 2024 budget misses the mark for Edmonton, said co-hosts of Speaking Municipally. (Mack Male/Flickr)