Alberta halts construction of lab to allow incoming UCP a chance to review it

EDMONTON — Alberta has halted construction of a medical superlab, saying it wants to allow the just-elected United Conservative government time to review the project.

Construction cranes over the north campus of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Author WinterE229

An Alberta infrastructure representative says in an email that the “pause” is intended to minimize costs incurred before the new government has the opportunity to conduct a review.

The $590-million lab at the University of Alberta’s south campus was announced by the NDP government in 2016, and former health minister Sarah Hoffman noted last month that site preparation was underway.

But Premier-designate Jason Kenney has called the project unnecessary and promised to scrap it if elected.

The lab was intended to bring existing laboratories and staff under one roof to process the more than 30 million tests conducted in the province every year.

Kenney has said the project would do nothing to improve patient services, and that a UCP government would also put the NDP’s plans for a lab-testing superagency on hold while consulting on the best way to deliver lab services.

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