(3 September 2020)
Investments in Infrastructure
Just recently, we celebrated 115 years since Saskatchewan officially became a province. We can be proud of our province, its place in our country, and all that we have to offer the world. While Saskatchewan has experienced many highs and lows throughout its history, we have always been able to count on the strength and resilience of our people to carry us through.
Today, Saskatchewan is a growing province and an emerging world leader in many respects. As we continue to recover from the impact of COVID-19, our government is investing in needed infrastructure to help stimulate economic recovery and encourage local job creation.
Municipal Projects: As an example, the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program is providing $150 million in provincial funding to shovel-ready infrastructure projects in municipalities across Saskatchewan. This is a key component of our government’s $7.5 billion, two-year capital stimulus plan.
Highways & Transportation: To build strong communities, we must ensure that our families have access to effective and high-performing infrastructure. These key investments show our government’s commitment to building strong families. This month our government released $437.4 million in new highway projects in the 2020 Fall Tender, which is the largest in Saskatchewan’s history.
These new highway projects will stimulate our economy, improve road safety as well as the reliability of several highways across our province. This release of the Fall Tender will allow for the industry to plan their projects effectively for the next construction season. A major highlight of the package includes the completion of a multi-year, multi-passing lane project on Highway 7 from Saskatoon to the Saskatchewan/Alberta border.
In total, our government has invested $9.8 billion into our transportation infrastructure since 2008. This year, our government will improve 1,000 kilometres of highway, which is the first year of our 10-year Growth Plan goal to build and upgrade 10,000 kilometres of highway.
Rare Earth Processing Investment: Recently, our government announced $31 million in funding for a Rare Earth Processing Facility to be built here in the province. The facility will be owned and operated by the Saskatchewan Research Council and will be the first-of-its-kind in Canada to establish a Rare Earth Element (REE) supply chain here in Saskatchewan. This will form an industry model for the future of commercial REE expansion. This will not only strengthen but also diversify our economy.
Global demand for electric vehicles and renewable power generation is at an all-time high. The Rare Earth Processing Facility will be a catalyst to stimulate our resource sector and will ensure that Saskatchewan stays competitive as we continue our economic recovery and grow our province.
Health Facilities: As part of our government’s $7.5 billion infrastructure stimulus in response to COVID-19, $200 million has been allocated for building and maintaining our health infrastructure which will lead to stronger communities and will benefit many families across the province.
Of that $200 million, funding has been set aside for additional maintenance in 2020-21 which will finance 87 facility improvement projects, including roof replacements, renovations to clinic spaces, generator and boiler replacements, and security improvements. The remaining funds are expected to allow for a further 225 projects to be completed.
Education Infrastructure: The past few weeks have seen the announcement of new school builds, as well as the completion of others. More than $135 million of our stimulus spending will go towards four new schools, two major renovations, as well as many maintenance projects for school divisions in communities across the province.
Since 2007, our government has committed more than $1.9 billion toward school infrastructure projects. This includes 85 major school capital projects and numerous small projects such as portable classrooms and preventative maintenance and renewal.
This fall, many schools across Saskatchewan are opening their doors for the first time to an excited group of students. I am grateful for the work and guidance of school divisions to ensure our students and faculty members are able to adapt to our current reality. Though the school year will be different for most, we can be confident knowing that our students are in good hands. I wish all students and school staff the very best as we return to class in what has been a particularly challenging year.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Lyle.
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